September is National Suicide Awareness Month with National Suicide Prevention Week September 9-15 and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th.
This year, we have launched the hashtag #10Things4NSPW. Many people are unaware of National Suicide Prevention Month, week, and World Suicide Prevention Day and many more aren't sure how they can observe it. The hashtag is meant to help you discover some new ways to share why suicide prevention is important and take action in your community, workplace, and home to prevent suicide and promote a safe space for mental health.
So let's start with the "why:"
In the United States:
- Suicide is the #10 leading cause of death overall
- Each year nearly 45,000 die by suicide; 800,000 globally in which 79% occur in low and middle-income countries
- Suicide costs the US 69,000,000,000.00 annually. Yes. That's BILLION
- For every suicide 25 attempt
- On average there are 123 suicides per day
- Firearms account for 51% of all suicides
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age, white men in particular
- suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-44
- suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for ages 45-54
- suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for ages 55-64
- suicide is the 18th leading cause of death for ages 65+
- More than 3 times as many people die by suicide than by homicide
- On average, one person dies by suicide every 17 hours
But there is hope:
Suicide is preventable. We know that through awareness, education, compassion, means restriction, and professional intervention that suicide is preventable. The will to live is strong and difficult for most people to overcome. Many people who consider suicide don't actually want to die. They struggle to find the hope to keep living.
This National Suicide Prevention Week and Month, you are invited to help spread awareness through the Hashtag #10Things4NSPW
You are challenged to do 10 things for National Suicide Prevention Week to help share suicide prevention and mental health awareness to those around you. Try one of ours or share your own on social media with #10Things4NSPW.
1. Wear an awareness ribbon. Need one? Pop by our office during business hours and we'll give you one!
2. Attend an awareness event. There are many across the state, including the Headquarters Open House in Lawrence on September 10th, Hope Links Us Together Walk (Emporia), SASS-MoKan Suicide Remembrance Walk (KC, MO), Golden Belt Glow 4 Life (Great Bend, KS), Out of the Darkness Community Walk (Hays, KS). Speak Up Walk (Olathe, KS)
If we missed one, please e-mail and let us know!
3. Learn the Warning Signs. There is never one reason why someone suicides, but many exhibit warning signs. After learning them, it becomes easier to identify someone in your life who might be considering suicide and get them help.
4. Make a Donation. We at Headquarters rely on your donations to fund our life-saving mission. We are almost entirely funded by the generosity of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Because our crisis center is staffed by volunteers, we serve the whole state for about 1/3 of the budget of other similarly-sized organizations while having the added services of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Visit our donations page or make a gift directly to our National Suicide Prevention Month campaign.
5. Share with a Friend. Grab lunch or coffee with a friend, or just share with your coworkers in the break room. Share with them why suicide prevention is important to you--and the fact that it's National Suicide Prevention Month! That might be a great time to check in with them on their mental health too! You'll be surprised how many people will appreciate your care and compassion.
6. Check in with Your Spouse or Significant Other. We all ask, "how was your day," or, "how are you feeling?" When was the last time you talked about your mental health though? Sometimes it can be an awkward conversation, but acknowledging that awkwardness can also be a good start. Try sharing a time when you struggled yourself to break the ice.
7. Start a fundraiser. Sometimes when a cause is near and dear to us, we always wish that we could do more. You can! Start a peer-to-peer fundraiser, add a donation button to a Facebook Post, ask your business to do a casual Friday for $10 per person and donate the money to Headquarters--see if your company will match it! Hold a bake sale, ask your church or civic organization to help collect money. You can even host a cocktail party and suggest that friends make a donation. There are a few ideas on our donations page. Its a great way to raise money that will stay in and benefit your local community.
8. Talk to your kids. Whether your kids are 4, 14, or 40, you can always check in with them and make sure they have a person who they'd go to if they were feeling depressed, anxiety, or suicidal. It's okay that it's not you; as long as they have someone who they feel comfortable talking to about their mental well-being. Make sure they know that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is there too, 24/7/365.
You can start having conversations with younger children about protective factors and how they're feeling. Teenagers may have already been impacted by suicide: thoughts of their own, an attempt or talk about suicide from a friend, or the death of a loved one. Try to listen, let them feel heard and understood. For more tips on talking to your kids--oh, wait--wasn't that our last newsletter? (wink wink) There's tons of advice from our director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center on talking to your kids about suicide.
9. Share on Social Media. Share a post, use a hashtag, share a news story about National Suicide Prevention Week or Month. You can Share Headquarters Posts by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube
9.5. Post a Video. So this Kinda goes along with sharing on social media--so I'm not cheating and sneaking in an 11th-- but post a video! It doesn't have to be professional, just bust out your smartphone, go FaceBook Live, Periscope it to Twitter, or post it to Youtube. Maybe you share your struggle, maybe you send a message to someone struggling that they are loved, maybe you share how you're participating in suicide prevention, or maybe you just share words of hope. 60 seconds (with the #10Things4NSPM, of course) can mean the world to a loved one, a friend, or a stranger alike.
10. Self-Care. While we hope self-care is part of your regular routine, take 15 minutes, an hour--however long you need and do something just for you. Release everything else going on in your head and do something just for you.