He was the life of the party; the one up for crazy adventures. You’d find him outdoors or at the race track. Proud of his boys and loved his mom. But, he struggled.
National Suicide Prevention Week is September 4–10, 2022, and we need to talk. The S word shouldn’t be taboo or have a stigma attached that makes the world afraid and people feel so alone. There is research. Plans. Help. We just need to spread the word.
This week is a time to work together and bring awareness to one of the leading causes of death in veterans, teens/young adults, adults over 45, and sexual minority youth. It’s a time to discuss and even shout prevention and finding trust. These may not be the answers but identifying the most vulnerable and knowing there’s help for all is a step in the right direction.
There are many foundations that make it their mission to bring awareness and help leaders in schools and communities to educate and inform about suicide prevention. The Jason Foundation has the #IWontBeSilent campaign that focuses on our youth- especially those who have been affected by the loneliness and fear of the pandemic. Their target is schools, youth groups, and churches, focusing on a step-by-step program for this at-risk group.
There are guides for veterans and our LGBTQ community where strategic plans have been created to start conversations and share contacts. And that’s what we want more than anything – to know there’s safety, caring support, and conversation that makes suicide less stigmatized and our loved ones less afraid.
According to National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), warning signs for suicide can include: increased alcohol and drug use, aggressive behavior, withdrawal from friends/family, dramatic mood swings, and an increase in erratic behavior. If a friend or loved one shows signs of concern, gather a community of support. Reach out for professional help or use the suicide hotline.
Be supportive, though it is hard to know the right way to talk with someone struggling. Talk openly and honestly. Ask if there is a plan. You can also remove any means of harm from the home and express concern if so. Stay calm, don’t debate, and don’t argue or threaten. Most of all, be patient and vigilant as you come up with a plan for help.
I don’t know if my brother would have talked more if resources were given or if a prevention article would’ve saved him. But, we have the chance to talk louder. Share often. Love one another so hard. I would’ve tried anything to keep that life of the party here.
Raise your voices September 4-10. Keep talking about suicide prevention after that too. We are a strong community with options, hope, and love. We need to keep fighting to prevent a loss so great.
And, let’s not forget to take care of ourselves as moms. We often get sidetracked with our busy lives and forget that our mental health can suffer, too. There are resources and a community armed to help you come out stronger.
If you or someone you know is showing warning signs, please note the Suicide Hotline has changed. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States (The 988 Lifeline 988 is now active across the United States. This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. (Please note, the previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to function indefinitely.)