September holds the title of National Suicide Prevention Month. The month gives people the opportunity to share their personal experiences around suicide, which was recently named the 10th leading cause of death in the US, according to the CDC.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline created the hashtag #BeThe1To to spread the message that there are actions people can take to help prevent suicide.
The #BeThe1To campaign’s website lists five steps that can help prevent suicide. Those steps are: ask, keep them safe, be there, help them connect and follow up. The website delves into how and why each step is crucial, and details the best ways for people to execute the steps.
I wish that this information was given to me before I nearly lost two people who mean the world to me. Suicide can affect anyone, because a disease does not care what your situation in life is.
To help prevent an increase of suicides, people must take action in their lives to help those who they know struggle with suicidal thoughts. As a friend of someone suffering, knowing what you can do to help an acquaintance in this situation is crucial.
You may first need to create a bridge between the two of you by asking questions. The act of asking questions shows you care enough to sit and listen to their thoughts and feelings. You do not necessarily have to fix the issues that they speak about, just being there for them shows that you care.
Staying with your loved one shows your support and will release them from feelings of isolation. Often, dark thoughts like “no one loves you” or “no one would miss you” haunt those who are suicidal. These thoughts often form when the person is alone, and spending time with them can be essential in assisting their recovery.
Finally, do not be afraid to encourage them to find professional help and treatment, there is no shame in seeing a psychologist. Advocating a non-judgmental view on mental health can help change the societal shame people fear around getting medical attention for depression.
If you find yourself in a situation with a depressed loved one, you have the power to potentially change their life for the better. Caring for someone who is suicidal can be stressful and requires patience, but you should remember that you are not in this fight alone.
Learn more about how to help a depressed person in their time of need at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.