I have a very serious confession to make: I have tried to die by suicide. I have made 3 attempts; my first being at age 14, and had fully developed plans at least another dozen times. Thankfully, I didn’t die any of those times because each time someone stepped in and saved my life. Someone I knew was trained in suicide prevention. Not everyone is that lucky, though: there are an average of 123 suicides per day in the United States alone. That is 10 deaths by suicide per hour. It’s sad, but we can’t always prevent suicide.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is a day set aside for worldwide commitment to preventing this epidemic from continuing to spread. This day was established in 2003 by the World Health Organization, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and the World Federation for Mental Health. Today, over 40 countries openly recognize and participate in this day.
So, what can you do to help prevent suicide today?
Be There To Help
First and foremost, if someone you know may be in crisis, the best thing you can do is be the one to help them. Ask them direct questions like, “Are you safe?” or “Do you have a plan?” or “Can you tell me what is going on inside your head right now?” Stay with them if possible; keep them safe any way possible. Do not express emotions like shock or anger. Be non-judgemental and try to validate their feelings without condoning the option to die.
Knowledge is power, and this case is no different. Whether you currently are close to someone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or not, having the information and being prepared is always beneficial. It may even help you save a life.
Another way you can prevent suicide is by donating your time or funds to the cause. Both The Suicide Prevention Lifeline and The Crisis Text Line are always looking for volunteers, and don’t worry, they provide all the training you need. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts charity events like walks and also has ways to help donate listed on their website. Finally, a personal favorite of mine, To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit dedicated to to helping people who feel hopeless. A cool way to help them is by shopping in their store, buying inspirational merchandise while supporting a worthy cause. I own nearly a dozen of their shirts and I love them.
As one of my favorite “Grey’s Anatomy” characters says, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives.” Let’s take today to cherish life and think about what we can do to prevent more innocent people becoming part of the discouraging statistics. Take a minute to help save a life. Taking a moment to educate yourself, being open to helping a friend in need, or making small donations can all have a major impact on the future.
Also Published on Unwritten