September is Suicide Awareness Month.
Life reminds me of a colorful stained glass window. The diverse colors represent the moments, emotions, and connections. The laughter of a friend, the warmth of the sun on our skin, the taste of our favorite food, the thrill of achieving a goal - all these experiences contribute to the beauty of our window. But sometimes the challenges we face make the light behind the window become dim, dull, or even completely dark. Though life may have its ups and downs, the journey itself is what makes it meaningful. Every experience, whether positive or negative, shapes us and contributes to our growth as individuals. So my question to you is what can you do to make your light glow brighter and help others find that glow?
Pour into yourself, take time for you. Support causes like suicide awareness to help those who cannot help themselves. Suicide awareness is critical for our society today.
According to the CDC (2021), every 11 minutes one person dies by suicide. Worldwide, suicide remains a crisis. Raising awareness helps us identify warning signs, risk factors, and resources for intervention and prevention. Awareness helps combat stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide. Stigma can prevent people from seeking help or talking openly about their struggles, leading to isolation and further deterioration of mental health.
Educate Yourself: Participating in awareness programs or reviewing credible sources can provide valuable education about mental health and suicide risk factors. Many people may not recognize when they or a loved one is struggling, and education can increase early recognition of distress signs, help determine when to seek appropriate help, and support those around them.
Encourage Help-Seeking Behavior: Individuals who are struggling with mental health issues may be hesitant to seek help due to stigma, fear of judgment, or a lack of understanding about available resources. Make yourself and others aware of the resources available in your area. 988, the National Suicide Hotline, is an excellent resource. Make an emergency plan including safe people to talk to for moments when you feel your mental health start to dip.
Support Organizations: Volunteer your time or provide donations to organizations that are involved with mental health services/resources and suicide prevention initiatives. Participate in awareness campaigns and events!
Initiate Open Conversations with Empathy: Suicide awareness efforts should focus on empathy, understanding, and creating a compassionate environment where individuals feel safe to talk about their struggles and seek help without fear of judgment. Have open conversations with family and friends about mental health struggles.
A simple yet important reminder I have built my life and website upon: It is okay to not be okay. Your light may flicker between bright and dull and that is okay. I challenge you to embrace the gift of life, with all its uncertainties and possibilities, allowing you to find purpose, make memories, and cherish the moments that make it worth living.
I run a website dedicated to mental health awareness, so if you want to dive deeper in all things mental health feel free to visit: powerofokay.com.
Immediate danger: Call 911
National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
Crisis chat: Text HOME to 741741
LGBTQ+ The Trevor Project: Call (866) 488 7386 OR Text TREVOR to 1 (202) 304 1200
(Thurs. & Fri. 1pm - 5pm PT)
Teen Line (12-19): (310) 855 4673 OR Text TEEN to 839863
National Poison Control Line: 1-800-222-1222
Depression Chat Rooms: CLICK HERE
The Hopeline (2pm-12am CT): CLICK HERE
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: CLICK HERE
Teen Line Message board: CLICK HERE
Visit the websites below to learn more
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: save.org
World Health Organization: who.it
National Institute of Mental Health: nimh.nih.gov
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide: sptsusa.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov
Speaking of Suicide: speakingofsuicide.com
Founder of The Power of Okay & Emory University Student