September 30. Suicide Prevention Month is drawing to a close. Awareness campaigns are wrapping up. For most, the focus on suicide prevention is over for another year… if they ever really focused on it to begin with.
But for many, suicide prevention is not something that can be packed up at the end of a month, set aside for another year. For many, suicide prevention is a constant companion. We live with it, cherish it, cling to it.
I am in recovery. Yet even for me, suicide prevention is an ever-present concept. I know how important it is, how easily the wirings of my brain can misfire and turn against me. I know suicidal ideation is not simply a plague of the weak, but of anyone with the misfortune of being attacked by the body’s most complex organ, whose functionality we expect and rely on the most.
I will never be able to set aside my personal attention on suicide prevention at the end of an arbitrary division of time. This month of focus and awareness is ending, but please keep in mind that those around you who are suffering and fighting do not have the option to pack it away for another year. They need the support of those around them as much on the 1st of October as they do on the 30th of September.
Start conversations. Educate yourself on symptoms, warning signs, and resources. Reach out to your friends and family. Let the people around you know that you are a safe and non-judgmental listening ear and follow through on that promise.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, please seek help! You can text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 at any time for free and confidential help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (273-8255).