National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is an excellent opportunity to become informed about tools to support those struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideation.
According to the World Health Organization, over 700,000 people die by suicide each year globally, and it is the fourth leading cause of death among youth aged 15-19. Suicide is a public health crisis, particularly for young people, and National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month counteracts this through education and awareness.
Continue reading to learn about new and evergreen ideas and tools for practitioners, families, and individuals who want to learn more about suicide prevention and how to support individuals and organizations engaged in suicide prevention education and resources.
National 988 number
On July 16, 2022, the United States will launch the national 988 number. This number, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, will be staffed by counselors who provide toll-free, 24/7 support and assistance when somebody is feeling suicidal or experiencing suicidal ideation.
The 988 counselors are trained mental health professionals and volunteers who can support somebody needing assistance in a crisis. Such calls are often routed to local call centers that can provide regional resource recommendations.
While the lifeline has been around for about 17 years, the actual number (1-800-273-8255) is quite long and hard to remember. This switch to a short, three-digit number will help those in a crisis access services more easily and more quickly. The old number will remain in effect.
To learn more about the 988 number, visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. There is also a crisis text line available 24/7 as well as at 741741.
Podcasts and audiobooks
Most of us are too busy to sit down and read a dedicated clinical book as often as we’d like. The idea of ongoing therapeutic education is great in theory, but many people have limited time. Our working days are spent working, and our home lives are busy with familial responsibilities.
This makes the rise of podcasts and audiobooks a wonderful thing. There are numerous, fantastic audio resources for busy practitioners on the go who may not be able to pull out a book to read but can certainly turn on a clinical podcast or audiobook. Mindless activities like commutes, time at the gym, walks around the neighborhood, or cleaning the house can be fantastic opportunities to learn through audio resources.
Following are some great audio resources on the theme of suicide prevention month.
- Mental Note: Depression and Suicide Prevention With Kevin Berthia
- The Recovery Letters -- edited by James Withey and Olivia Sagan
- The Breakdown With Dr. Earl – Let’s Talk Suicide Prevention
Overcoming the stigma around suicide
Even for those of us who work in the helping industry, suicide is a difficult topic. Many people don’t want to make things worse for somebody who is struggling, and the subject of suicide can be intimidating to bring up. However, for those of us who support people who might be experiencing depressive or suicidal ideation, the best thing we can do is our internal work to destigmatize the topic of suicide.
Asking somebody if they are suicidal will not make them suicidal. If they are not, they will simply say no. Conversely, having the courage to ask somebody if they’re suicidal may open the conversation to provide support and resources to an individual who may be having suicidal thoughts.
Following are resources for breaking the stigma around suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a great opportunity to take some time and brush up on the best methodologies for supporting those who are experiencing suicidal ideation.
If you know someone who is struggling and who may benefit from a dedicated treatment program, have them reach out for a free assessment today at 1-866-965-8214.