September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and we thought it important to bring awareness to this critical topic. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) this month is a time to remember the lives lost to suicide, the millions of people who have struggled with suicidal ideation, and acknowledge the individuals, families, and communities that have been impacted. It is also a time to raise awareness about suicide prevention and share messages of hope.
A big question we might be faced with when discussing this topic is, “How can I help?” One of the first things we can do is to educate ourselves and others about suicide prevention. Be familiar with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, as well as common warning signs and risk factors. Below are warning signs to look for:
If you find yourself with someone whom you know is considering suicide, below are ways SAMHSA encourages you to support them:
- Call 911, if danger for self-harm seems imminent.
- Call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to talk to a caring professional.
- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. This will not put the idea into their head or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.
- Listen without judging and show you care.
- Stay with the person or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person until you can get further help.
- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
- Call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to talk to their professionals and follow their guidance.
SAMHSA has helpful resources to further educate yourself on this topic, including information on how to support someone who is considering suicide, what to do if you are considering suicide, online trainings and articles via the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and events.
Hill & Wilkinson offered a Mental Health First Aid Certification class to 26 employees. This class is a skills-based training course that teaches participants to identify, understand, and respond to mental health and substance use challenges.
During the eight-hour course, participants learned how to recognize the signs and symptoms that suggest potential mental health challenges, how to listen non-judgmentally and give reassurance to a person who may be experiencing a mental health challenge, and how to refer to someone to appropriate professional support services. All department managers and job site leaders are required to complete this certification, and we are looking forward to opening the training to all employees and their spouses.
Another way you can be involved is to support organizations that prioritize suicide prevention and awareness. One of these organizations is SAVE, the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. This organization was actually started by Tom Driscoll, the brother of Hill & Wilkinson’s CEO, Paul Driscoll! SAVE is dedicated to raising public awareness, educating communities, and equipping every person with the right tools to save lives. Paul and Tom recently participated in a golf tournament to support SAVE. You can learn more about this great organization at www.save.org.
Suicide is an incredibly difficult topic to talk about, and moving forward with awareness and a willingness to help and speak up when necessary is crucial. With the right resources and tools, we can help bring hope to those who need it most.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call or text 988, or visit www.988lifeline.org, and know you are not alone. There is hope!