By Madeline Williams
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a month in which there is a focus on spreading awareness and informing the public about suicide and its warning signs, as well as showing support for people effected by suicide.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month [is] a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services” (nami.org).
Sophomore Holly Schoenknecht said, “I believe that September being our Suicide Prevention Month is extremely important […] because [it] allows others to get educated, [and shows] those who feel suicidal that they are not alone.” In agreement, Junior Gaby Degen said, “Putting mental health first has always been something that I believe in. This month has given many opportunities to help others accomplish mental stability.”
According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, #BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for this month. This hashtag helps spread information about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. “The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope” (suicidepreventionlifeline.org).
This September carries special significance due to the increase of suicidal thoughts and tendencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a survey conducted by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 11 percent of participants reported suicidal ideation in the past 30 days, according to the report published on August 14. Furthermore, the CDC website explained that “…the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges related to the morbidity and mortality caused by the disease and to mitigation activities” (cdc.gov).
Suicide prevention month gives a platform to associations that are involved with supporting suicide prevention to educate and involve others. Suicide Prevention Lifeline is not only a hotline, but works to spread mental health support for those in need (suicidepreventionlifeline.org).
Many companies choose to support National Suicide Awareness Month in different ways. For example, Charity Navigator — a donation website — is a program that has been involved with trying to halt the increase of suicides. Charity Navigator’s online goal is to have others interested in helping show support to those in need by donating to charities (charitynavigator.org).