Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Despite the negative connotations associated with the word “suicide,” today is all about recognizing the efforts being put toward prevention, hope, and healing, and inspiring people to bring fresh energy and ideas to suicide prevention work. This time around, I thought I’d share some ideas for how people might recognize World Suicide Prevention Day through action, education, and awareness.
- Learn about suicide
Take a few minutes to read about suicide and suicide prevention on a local, national, or global scale. Familiarize yourself general information and numbers, then delve into the narratives of those affected by suicide. Learn about suicide prevention efforts and the awesome work that people of all ages, from all parts of the world are doing to prevent suicide.
Some material to get you started:
Suicide Statistics (from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
Suicide Prevention (from Helpguide.org)
Suicide (info from the National Institute of Mental Health)
Split Image (very powerful article by Kate Fagan, ESPNW)
- Spread awareness
Talk to someone you love about suicide prevention. Today gives you the perfect reason to jump into casual conversation about a topic that is often hard to bring up. Share an article. Retweet a fact. Post the number to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline on your newsfeed.
- Share resources
Know the number to a local crisis hotline? Think other students could use the link to your school’s mental health resources? SHARE THEM. Passive spreading of awareness isn’t the best approach for every social cause, but it’s an effective way to reach people who may be in need of help, but are afraid to reach out. Showing your support for certain mental health resources helps eliminate the stigma around asking for help and may even cause others to recognize you as a safe person to reach out to in times of crisis or distress. I’d also suggest taking a few minutes to learn how to help someone who might be experiencing thoughts of suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255; for Spanish: 1-888-628-9454
Crisis Text Line: Text 741741
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline: 1-800-662-4357; more geared toward people fighting substance abuse
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386; text and chat options also available
You’re Not Alone: People & Organizations Supporting Minority Mental Health (blog post)
5 Mental Health Blogs Created For People Of Color
- Tell your story
If suicide or mental illness have impacted you in some way and you feel comfortable talking about it, consider sharing your story. Resources, articles, and statistics are awesome, but the impact of a personal anecdote should not be underestimated. In addition to spreading awareness, your story could bring hope and healing to others and help some feel less alone in their journeys.
If you have the means, consider donating to a mental health or suicide prevention related organization. Most groups will take money, but some might have a list of needed material items. A quick internet search will reveal countless organizations and initiatives, serving a wide range of populations at varying scales. All of the organizations listed under #6 accept donations.
- Take action
Find a way to get involved with an organization or initiative on a local or national level. If time permits, you might consider volunteering with a crisis hotline or text line. Don’t have time for long-term involvement? Search for opportunities to participate in suicide prevention events that occur on a specific day. Especially consider participating in an Out of the Darkness Walk in your area. Can’t find a way to take action? Start something yourself!
- Practice self-care
Learning and talking about a difficult topic like suicide can be a lot. Make time to care for you! Here are 134 self-care ideas.