As you may know by now, we recently experienced a huge loss in our family, our son and our brother, Luke J. Raymond. Luke battled a courageous fight with mental illness for several years and pushed through obstacles of pain and challenge that were far too big for this world. With the loss of Luke, we want to express how deceiving the face of mental illness truly is and the work and support the needs to take place for our loved ones struggling. By fighting to change the stigma around mental illness and being a voice for World Suicide Prevention Month, as well as every month- we are heading in the right direction to create change. Acknowledging suicide, validating a person who is need of help, and educating others on suicide are all things we need to implement into our daily lives.
There are an average of 123 suicides each day in the United States alone. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading for ages 15-24. In order to spread awareness and strengthen the fight against suicide and mental illness, the entire month of September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month.
How to Observe World Suicide Prevention Month:
- Spread the Message: Throughout all of September, it’s extremely important to spread awareness on suicide, take time to reach out to those in need and help people understand the severity of this cause. How can you do this exactly? Hand out Suicide Prevention pins, start a campaign, and share stories of hope on social media.
- Volunteer at a Crisis Center: You can also provide support by volunteering at a crisis center in your area. Although this is something that can be done year-round, Suicide Prevention Month is the perfect time to start. Check out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an organization that offers free and confidential emotional support 24/7 to those in crisis or emotional distress.
- Record a Supportive Video: This is an easy option that doesn’t cost money or time, so anyone can do it. Simply record a 15-30 second video promising your friends to listen to anything they need to say. Then, use the hashtags #suicideispreventable #800273TALK #LETITOUT. Many people who battle mental illness and suicide tend to think no one is there for them or are discouraged to reach out for help. Taking the additional step for them could save their life.
5 No-Nonsense Tips to Help Someone in Crisis:
- Ask Direct Questions: Even though it’s difficult to ask and confront, ask a person directly if they’re thinking about suicide.
- Listen to their answers: People with suicidal thoughts often feel alone, so be sure to let them know that you care deeply about what they have to say and validate to them that they are not alone in this.
- Do a safety check: If you’re concerned for their well-being, try removing anything they could use to harm themselves, such as alcohol, drugs, medications, weapons, and even access to a car.
- Don’t keep this a secret: Let them know that this is important and you’ll help come up with a plan that involves telling a professional who can utilize the many services and resources available to help.
- Ensure they seek professional help: Unless you work in the mental health industry, it’s important to suggest they seek additional help from other people, such as a doctor, counselor, psychologist or social worker. Help them research organizations or doctors that can help them in the area.
Why World Suicide Prevention Month is Important:
- It promotes awareness: Suicide prevention organizations will aim to decrease suicides by 20 percent over the next seven years. In order to do this, they’re making a stride to talk about suicide in schools, at the workplace, and in politics.
- It starts a dialogue: There’s a stigma connected to suicide, so too often it’s not talked about as much as it should be, or let alone at all — and those who suffer from it feel they can’t discuss it. Suicide Prevention Month helps to destigmatize this mental illness and promote conversation.
- It initiates change: Suicide Prevention Month, approaches to suicide are beginning to change. Schools and workplaces are implementing new programs and even pop culture is acknowledging it. Additional, the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is using this platform to its advantage by turning the issues on the show into a global conversation.
By fighting to change the stigma around mental illness and being a voice for World Suicide Prevention Month – and every month, we are heading in the right direction to create change. Acknowledging suicide, validating a person who is need of help, and education on suicide are all things we need to implement into our daily lives. Let’s make a change. Let’s stand up to mental illness. Let’s fight to protect our loved ones. Let’s be the change we wish to see.
Please click here to donate to the Luke J. Raymond foundation.