Bill’s Top 5 Ways to Support Suicide Prevention and Loss
You know me, I don't do "awareness campaigns." When I get involved in a cause, it's about action. From addiction recovery to standing up for law enforcement, every cause has to have an action item that helps people. Same for suicide prevention.
We've been talking an awful lot about suicide recently as some disturbing statistics and trends show that we have a huge problem in our society. My friends at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are participating in International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
This days is an opportunity for those who lost family and friends to suicide to gather for support and healing. According to organizers, it's always the Saturday before Thanksgiving, as the holidays can be an emotionally difficult time for those whose lost someone. Learn more about local events on Nov. 23 here.
Of course, there are plenty of ways we can spread suicide awareness and prevention all year long. Here are my top five tips for getting involved:
1) Get social. Click here and then select "Share" to find several colorful graphics appropriate for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that raise awareness, fight the stigma against mental health care and provide resources for those who might need help. Sharing one or several of them on social media just might help someone rethink their poor attitude about mental health or get them in touch with resources they or a friend or family member needs.
2) Learn about suicide risk factors — and how to talk with someone who might be struggling. You might not encounter someone who is at risk for suicide today, or tomorrow, but educating yourself on what to look for and how to start the conversation will only help prepare you for the day when it arrives. Read about the signs and risk factors here.
3) Take your education a step further. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has tons of educational materials on their website, including programs geared toward students, teachers, parents and medical professionals. Learn more here.
4) Gear up. AFSP offers t-shirts, water bottles and other gear with their logo and key suicide awareness messages. The more visible these messages are, the more effective they will be. And you never know if seeing a t-shirt will spark a conversation that could break down mental health stigmas or encourage someone to seek help.
5) Volunteer. Share your talents with your local AFSP chapter; find the chapter nearest you here.
Even doing just one thing to raise awareness and support prevention this month can help reduce that number of suicides. If we all chip in, think of the difference we can make.