Learn how you can help destigmatize mental illness & prevent suicide
In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, we're working towards destigmatizing mental illness and educating on how to recognize risk factors to ensure each and every individual gets the help they need. This September, we're emphasizing the importance of the PREVENT in Suicide Prevention.
Spreading the word about suicide prevention is a great way to work towards reducing stigma and normalizing conversations surrounding mental health. By simply sharing your knowledge, reposting on social media, or volunteering—raising awareness for the issue is always essential.
Recognize risk factors.
Research has shown that the best way to prevent suicide is to be aware of risk factors. Potential warning signs that someone may be suicidal is severe sadness or moodiness, this can consist of long-lasting sadness, mood swings, and unexpected rage. Hopelessness, seeing a sense of hopelessness for their future and with little expectations. Changes in personality or appearance, someone who might be thinking suicidal thoughts could exhibit a change in their attitude or appearance.
Learning more about risk factors, causes, statistics, etc. is a great way to participate in Suicide Prevention Month.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness allows for people to start their own fundraisers or to support an existing fundraiser. NAMI also offers a pledge to stay stigma free to help those affected by mental illness.
Once you're equipped with information, the next step is sharing that knowledge with others.
Destigmatizing suicide cannot be accomplished in one easy step. Instead, focus on small things you can change to help move forward in the battle against stigma. For example, correct your friends who talk negatively about mental illness.
Talk about it.
Suicide is often referred to as a "taboo" subject. The less we talk about it, the less we understand. Open dialogues about mental health with those around you:
"It's important to not be afraid to ask clearly if a person is having suicidal thoughts. Don't hesitate to use clear language, like, 'Are you thinking about killing yourself'? You won't give someone an idea that they didn't already have, and then it opens the door for them to be able to talk," explains Jessica Brock-Pitts, MSW, LCSW, LCADC, S4641, IOC & PESS Director.
"If you seem uncomfortable with the language when you ask, the person will probably sense that and might not be honest because they will not want to scare you with what they are really thinking."
Additional Suicide Prevention Resources
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours to speak or message someone at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- SAMHSA offers a referral helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727) which offers general information on mental health and treatment services in your area
- Text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line, which provides free, 24/7 mental health support via text message
- If an emergency is potentially life threatening, call 911
- ASFP offers various resources for suicide loss survivors to help process grief and find support
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness or suicidal ideation, clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers are available to help. Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 x9500) for more information or to schedule an appointment.