National Suicide Prevention Month calls attention to mental illness

By Lauren Trumbull

News and Features Editor

September is an important month for mental illness. As a whole, it is National Suicide Prevention Month, Sept. 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day and from Sept. 10-16, the United States recognized National Suicide Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Take a minute, save a life.”

During this month, the plan is to create a sense of hope and resilience, and call attention to the risks and warning signs of suicide. It is also important to encourage help-seeking and prevention.

By starting a conversation about the often controversial and highly stigmatized topic, and providing support and guidance for those who need it; it is possible to prevent a suicide.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention cites that within Pennsylvania, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death, and on average, one person dies every five hours.

Aside from it being National Suicide Prevention Month, the media has been drawing much attention to suicide prevention in the past few months, due to the chart topper “1-800-273-8255.” Logic’s song, titled after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), has stirred a discussion around promoting mental health. Since the release of the song, calls to NSPL are up 33% and the NSPL’s website has an extra 100,000 visitors a month.

Logic coordinated with the NSPL before releasing the song. The organization’s director, John Draper, is cited in The Washington Post saying, “By sharing these stories of recovery from individuals who have been there and have survived their own crises, we can change the conversation about suicide from one of tragedy and isolation, to one of hope. It’s an honor for us to be working alongside Logic to help people in despair find hope and meaning.”

Along with creating a powerful song to draw attention to mental illness, Logic used a music video, which also features Alessia Cara and Khalid, to further his message. The video features the story of two gay teenage boys that do not receive approval from their fathers regarding their sexuality. One of the boys is also bullied by his teammates at school, and on the verge of suicide, he calls NSPL. The video, like the song, ends on a hopeful note.

To join the movement and help prevent suicide, people can promote awareness by sharing statistical images on social media provided by National Alliance on Mental Illness and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention using #SuicidePrevention or #StigmaFree. It is also possible to become a field advocate for suicide prevention through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This allows people to volunteer with thousands of others to build relationships with Congress and state legislators in order to take action on policies that matter most to them.

For anyone concerned that someone they know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, read about the risk factors and warning signs on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website, https://afsp.org/about-suicide/ risk-factors-and-warningsigns/. Or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Anyone struggling with mental health issues, please reach out to the NAMI crisis line for more resources at 1-800- 950-NAMI (6264)

Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800- 273-8255, in a case of emergency.

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