September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and it is a good time to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic, as more than 41,000 individuals die from suicide each year. In Connecticut, on average, someone dies by suicide every day of the year. Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Mental health networks are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, and providing ways to promote healing and give hope.
This is a great time to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide feel at a loss and left in the dark, and often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.
Everyone can benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.
Connecticut’s Suicide Prevention Campaign – “1 WORD, 1 VOICE, 1 LIFE … Be the 1 to start the conversation” has a multitude of resources and materials listed below, available on their website: https://www.preventsuicidect.org
- Warning Signs and Risk Factors
- Resources to Help Prevent Suicide as a Family Member, Caregiver, School Official, Military Member and more
- Materials available to Help Promote Mental Health Initiatives in Connecticut
- If you are in crisis and live in Connecticut, please take one moment and dial 2-1-1 and press 1. If outside of CT, dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255), for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.
- Mobile Crisis Intervention Services for Youth can be accessed by dialing 2-1-1 or visit the website at: http://www.empsct.org/
SOURCE: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness); Lifeline; Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS); Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF)