National Suicide Month

Michelle Obama once said “at the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distraction.”

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. This week, September 6th, 2020 – September 12th, 2020 is National Suicide Prevention Week. It is our goal to support and bring further awareness to those individuals who fight the attempt or thought of suicide every day. No matter the race/ethnicity, age, and other population characteristics, suicide is a large and growing public health problem. According to the CDC, people who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence are at higher risk for suicide. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, there are added challenges and lifestyle changes that impacted everyone’s mental health. Everyone can learn the warning signs and how to get help, and/or give help. Here are a list of risk and protective factors provided by the CDC:

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts

Protective Factors:

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation

Many individuals who fight against an illness, such as mental health, do not want to stop living, but they cannot see their way through their despair. Often times the act of suicide is associated with giving up on life.

When people want to give up on life, or act upon suicide, they often believe there is no reason to continue living. It may sound simple, but the fact that you are alive and your heart is still beating and pumping blood around your body, can be enough to keep living. People often struggle finding the meaning of life or their specific purpose. Purpose is defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” Purpose is an essential element of you. Your very existence of where you are today is wrapped in the things you are here to fulfill. The times when the process is most invisible and painful, is the time to find the smallest joys because it is in your setbacks, dark times, and combative moments that you heal and develop you. There is something that happens during the process that leads you to your purpose. The struggles you endure along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.

As many battle the fight in silence, REAL LIFE wants to encourage those to seek help and be a support to those who are battling this illness. Here are 5 steps that can help:

  1. ASK

To find more information on how you can help prevent suicide or seek help, please click here or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You are worthy! Your life is worth something! And there is hope!