September is National Suicide Prevention Month — a time to raise awareness about a topic that may be hard to talk about. Every year during September, mental health advocates, survivors, friends and family, and mental health organizations across the country share their experiences and work towards eradicating this tragic act. Although mental health and suicide prevention are important to address year-round, September can be used to share that there is hope, help is available, and healing is possible.
All of us play a role in preventing suicide. Resources for mental health and suicide prevention are more accessible than ever before. Organizations like the More Tomorrows, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provide valuable information, support, and help for individuals in crises. Below are a few organizations and resources to become familiar with.
More Tomorrows is an awareness campaign focused on suicide prevention in the Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare service area in Nebraska. The campaign aims to educate people on the suicide warning signs to watch for in themselves and loved ones in hopes of lowering the suicides in our community. More Tomorrows offers public education, service announcements, presentations, events and more.
Click here to learn more about More Tomorrows and how you can get involved.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is one of the nation’s leading voices on mental health. Comprised of more than 600 affiliates, the alliance provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. NAMI offers resources such as support groups, education on mental health, helplines, and more.
Click here for more information and resources from our local affiliate.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Established in 1987, AFSP is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against suicide. AFSP funds scientific research, offers education about mental health and suicide prevention, advocates for policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supports survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide.
Our local chapter can be found here.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit
The CDC offers a toolkit of sample social media graphics and messaging that can be downloaded and shared across social media platforms. By sharing these graphics and content, you are helping to raise awareness and increase prevention efforts. The toolkit highlights messages about the importance of connecting with others, learning how to cope with stress, and promoting The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
View the toolkit at https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/resources/partner-toolkit.html
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988)
One of the most valuable resources is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Accessed by dialing 988 on your phone, this nationwide service quickly connects people with support during a crisis. Support is available 24/7 and can be accessed no matter where you are in the country.
For more information about the 988 initiative, visit: https://988lifeline.org/
Along with the month-long initiative, other dates of significance this month include National Suicide Prevention Week (Sunday, September 10th through Saturday, September 16th) and World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th).