Mental health or mental illness are one of the most stigmatized words, we have somehow learned to associate it with “crazy” or think that people can just will it away if they stay positive. But that is absolutely not the case.
Today, September 10th is World Suicide prevention day. This is a day that should be known and recognized. A day where we look at the statistics, and not just say how sad it is, but actually try to do something about it.
The world health organization (WHO) says and estimate of 800,000 people die from suicide each year- 1 death every 40 seconds- predicting an increase of 1 -20 seconds by 2020. These statistics don’t even include the attempted suicide rates.
What we can do about it
- Talk about it
When we talk about mental health and mental illness we can rewire the stigmatization of it. Recognize it’s important, every persons mental health is important- as important as our physical health. Talk about what help is out there, and how you can access it. All it takes is one person to catch a word from the conversation and realize they are not alone, and there are people who can help.
2. Know the risk factors and the signs
If you or someone you know seems to show signs of mental illness, or suicidal thoughts/tendencies, research or ask a professional about the risk factors. What is your family history, and does it include mental health related illnesses? Does this person have an illness that affects there mental health?
People with chronic illness have an increased risk of depression which can lead to suicide- read more here.
3. Let those know you care about them
Letting those you care about know how much you mean to them, and that you appreciate them and they are not a burden is not a definite solution to prevent suicide, but for one person it could be. I remember a Facebook video I watched about a man attempting suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge, and how he felt as if no one cared, even though he now knows they did. The reality is, you don’t know if our words will help someone, but for a even a 1% chance it will, just let them know.
You can watch the video here.
After an attempted suicide.
I don’t think anyone could know what the right thing to do or say after someone they know has attempted suicide. But as for most difficult things, just be there for them. The most important thing to do for people going through anything, is just to be there for them, whether they want you to be or not. And being there for someone can mean very different things, but do what feels right for you whether its a regular check up text/phone call or sitting beside them when they are at there lowest.
Here are a list of suicide hotlines and supports: