September is National Suicide Prevention Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, thousands of individuals die by suicide every year, leaving behind friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of a loss. There are many ways to help prevent suicide. During the month of September, become familiar with warning signs and risk factors and know how to be prepared for a crisis.
Physical – Regular exercise has been shown to be just as effective as anti-depressants in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Find an exercise you can enjoy and sustain over time.
Intellectual – Take time this month to become familiar with available resources to turn to if someone is in a crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential support available 24/7 online, by phone at 800-273-TALK (8255), or via text to the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).
Emotional – Showing emotional support to someone who is struggling is important. Listening in a nonjudgmental way is likely to help someone feel better. Research shows people feel relieved when someone asks how they are doing in a caring way.
Social – Support systems are invaluable in a time of need. There are many ways to cultivate support systems, such as volunteering, trying a new class such as cooking or art, networking sites to stay connected to friends and family, and joining a gym or fitness group.
Environmental – The environment can have an impact on your mental health. Consider what might be occurring in the environment and affecting your behaviors, feelings, and mood. Perhaps modifying how much time you spend watching the news or on social media will help enhance your mental well-being.
Financial – Financial stressors can often act as a trigger for suicidal ideation. Take time to get your finances in order and assess any unnecessary spending. Consider creating a budget or seeking help from someone who can assist in keeping finances on track.