The Foundation for Suicide Prevention tells us that 44,965 Americans die by suicide each year. This number has increased dramatically in the last few years. This leads us to ask the question: why are people dying by suicide, and what we can do to help save lives.
World Suicide Prevention Day is on September 10th and you might be wondering how to commemorate something that isn’t a happy situation at all.
This is a day for both emotion and action. It is a reminder to check in with those around you and to learn more about what you can do to help those who are struggling with mental illness, or loneliness.
We want to give you a few proactive and positive ways to spend World Suicide Prevention Day as many of the causes of such feelings are the same ones at the root of addiction.
Get Educated: Learn the Risk Factors
A great first step in being an advocate for suicide prevention is to learn the facts. There are many factors that play into why people attempt suicide.
Remember that mental health illness is complex. You’re not expected to know and learn every single thing about a person’s mind.
But, having general knowledge on substance abuse, mental illness and psychodynamics can really help you understand the issue.
Here are some great resources to learn from:
If you have made the effort to learn at least one new fact, you are taking a step in a great direction. Suicide prevention comes from understanding why it could happen.
Additional Facts About Suicide in the US
- The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.42 per 100,000individuals.
- Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
- On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016.
- Firearms account for 51% of all suicides in 2016.
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular.
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Raise Awareness with Positivity
A great way to raise awareness about the issue is to spread love and positivity. While we know that life is not all sunshine and rainbows, a positive message can make someone’s day. Because we never know who around us is struggling, it is important to maintain a positive attitude even on days that make us think painful thoughts. The best way to spread positivity is to think positively about yourself. Count the things you’re happy about and share those with your friends and loved ones. Use social media to share something good. You don’t have to know exactly how to help everyone who is struggling, but simple positivity can really deter someone from choosing to attempt suicide. World Suicide Prevention Day is naturally going to make people think of the sad reality of the issue. Being a positive influence can change the course of someone’s day.
Promote Mental Health Help
People who struggle with mental health issues do not always know the resources they need to get help. Spreading the idea that getting help is not a bad thing is an encouraging way to take someone’s mind off suicide.
Mental health help doesn’t have to mean going to see a therapist. You could encourage your friends and loved ones to come outdoors with you, or go look at a local art museum. Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a walk with a friend!
If you feel that someone has been acting off lately, it’s okay to voice your concern. Reaching out can be scary sometimes, but it lets your peer know that you care about them.
Saying something like “I’ve noticed that you seem quiet lately, is everything okay?” gives your friend or loved one a chance to open up if they would like to. Don’t be put off if they won’t share anything with you at this point. The value of reaching out in a caring way could change their mindset – and even their lives.
Social media is another great way to promote getting help and reach out to people. Simply extending your willingness to be there for anyone who needs you is such a kind thing to do.
Using the hashtag #SuicidePreventionDay gives social media users easy access to tons of positive messages about how we can avoid the loss of life. Stay focused on the things that make you feel happy and healthy and please remember that you are not alone.
If you feel unsafe or are having an emergency, dial 911. If you experience these feelings and also have substance abuse or behavioral issues, learn more about how our dual diagnosis addiction program can help.