September was National Suicide Prevention month, and while this article is a day late, it is always the right time to lift up the dialogue around suicide and mental health so that we may collectively reduce stigma, raise awareness, and increase prevention. At Thrive Counseling and throughout our programs at JFS, we are always focused on the safety and well-being of the clients and families we serve, and we know that we are stronger together.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. To families and communities that statistic is more than a number, it’s one beloved child, sibling, parent, friend, neighbor, or colleague.
The data is sobering and underscores the importance of a safety network of mental health resources accessible and affordable to all, an informed citizenry, and the evolution of a destigmatized dialogue around stress, distress, mental illness, substance use, and all things mental health. While assessing and managing suicide risk should be left to trained professionals, supporting one another in times of great need is something we can all do. The current COVID-19 crisis can deepen feelings of isolation and strain social networks, which may unevenly impact the most vulnerable among us. Checking in with friends and neighbors and letting them know you care is critically important. Asking loved ones how they are doing and perhaps sharing your own vulnerability can build connection.
If you feel suicidal or you're worried about someone you know, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by messaging TALK to 741741. 24/7 phone services and mobile crisis services are available to any Washtenaw County resident and can be accessed by calling 734-544-3050.