September 21, 2023

Recognizing and Raising Awareness for Suicide Prevention Month

By: Chris Morris, MSPAS, PA-C, Behavioral Health Consultant

September is Suicide Prevention Month, an important time for raising awareness and promoting understanding of a critical issue that affects countless individuals worldwide — suicide. With suicide rates continuing to rise, it is vital to acknowledge Suicide Prevention Month as an opportunity to learn, support and act.

Understanding Suicide Prevention month

Suicide Prevention Month, observed annually in September, serves as a platform to shed light on a topic that often remains shrouded in stigma and silence. It provides an opportunity to reach out to those who are struggling, educate communities about risk factors and warning signs and advocate for accessible mental health services.

Recognizing the impact of suicide

Suicide affects individuals from all levels of society, irrespective of age, gender or socioeconomic background. It leaves a profound impact on families, friends and communities, causing immeasurable pain and grief. Understanding the factors that contribute to suicide, such as mental health conditions, social isolation and life stressors, is very important in developing effective prevention strategies.

Promoting mental health

Mental health plays a pivotal role in suicide prevention. Fostering a supportive and empathic environment, where individuals feel safe discussing their feelings and seeking help, is essential. Promoting mental health involves dispelling myths, encouraging open conversations and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. By treating mental health with the same importance as physical health, we can create a culture that prioritizes well-being and early intervention.

Suicide prevention month_September 2023

Building resilience and connectedness

Strengthening protective factors like resilience and connectedness can significantly contribute to suicide prevention. Resilience enables individuals to bounce back from adversity, develop coping mechanisms and seek help when needed. Creating opportunities for connectedness within communities, schools and workplaces helps combat the sense of isolation that can contribute to suicidal thoughts. Supportive relationships, whether with friends, family or mental health professionals, play a vital role in fostering hope and offering assistance.

Educating and raising awareness

Suicide Prevention Month is an ideal time to teach ourselves and others about suicide risk factors, warning signs and available resources. Increasing awareness equips individuals to recognize when someone might be in distress and helps reduce the fear and hesitation often associated with discussing suicide. Education should also encompass promoting self-care practices, stress management techniques and strategies for seeking help.

Taking action

Suicide prevention is a collective responsibility, and everyone can play a part. Landmark Health has a full team of behavioral health specialists that can assist in caring for patients at risk for suicide. The team includes medical social workers that can assist with connecting patients with community resources; licensed clinical social workers that can provide brief, evidence based behavioral health interventions aimed at stabilizing symptoms and connecting patients to community based resources that can provide on-going behavioral health support; and Behavioral Health Advanced Practice Clinicians  who are available to provide consultation on behavioral conditions and / or to provide medication management to stabilize symptoms while working to connect patients with community behavioral health providers.

In addition to reaching out to the Landmark Behavioral Health team, here are some additional actionable steps you can take:

  • Reach out: if you suspect someone may be struggling, reach out to them and offer your support. Simply showing that you care can make a significant difference.
  • Advocate for mental health services: support policies and initiatives that improve access to mental health resources and ensure adequate funding for mental health care facilities and services.
  • Share resources: spread information about helplines, crisis centers and support groups to increase awareness of available resources within your community.
  • Join in events: engage in local or virtual events organized during Suicide Prevention Month, such as walks, webinars or panel discussions. These events provide opportunities to learn, share experiences and connect with others.

Here are additional resources: