I’ve already written that one of the topics I’ve learned the most about in the four years I’ve written this blog is suicide prevention. At the end of the suicide prevention month, I try to take the time to think about what I’ve learned during that month and how it will help my suicide prevention work. After doing research this month, I was able to connect more dots related to suicide prevention. Whether it’s raising awareness about mental health or pointing out the link between marginalized communities and a higher risk of suicide, I’ve learned that suicide prevention looks a lot more nuanced than we think.
If there’s one thing I wish people would talk more about when we talk about mental health, it’s how nuanced the topic can be. It’s not always as inspiring or entertaining to talk about, but mental health is about so much more than “it’s okay to be wrong” (although this is an important part of making contact and engaging in conversation !).
After that month, I notice that this attitude can creep into suicide prevention work as well – often in an unhelpful way. There are so many nuances and complexities when it comes to suicide and it is often reduced to nothing more than sharing the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and encouraging someone to get in touch. That’s not to say that the public relations aspect is valuable – it’s extremely important and has helped many people – but just note that advocacy for suicide prevention goes much further.
One of the ways I am committed to suicide prevention is by participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walks. Hundreds of these walks are held in cities across the United States each year to raise awareness and raise funds for suicide prevention.
But that’s just one of many, many ways to get involved in suicide prevention work. Suicide prevention requires a collective effort, and things get better when a community is behind it. For the future, I would like to encourage you to take a closer look at issues such as suicide prevention. This is not just a topic that should be debated a month a year, and we cannot afford to keep it that way if we are to improve our commitment to suicide prevention.
There are millions (if not billions) of people who would benefit from resources and information – even a slight affirmation that they are not alone. Together we are all stronger, and we need to learn and remember this as we continue to fight suicide.
PS If you want to know more about my walk or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, feel free to visit my fundraising page!
Now to you! In your opinion, which measures are effective for suicide prevention? Is there anything new you learned this month that you will try to use in the future? Let me know in the comments!