September marks Suicide Prevention Month. Just as we are protecting our physical health, we must also take care of our mental health as we navigate this pandemic. Social connectedness is key. At a time when connectedness has been challenged beyond our imagination, all Americans play a role in suicide prevention. #BeThere.
Help is Available
If someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, free 24/7 confidential services are available, including:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
- Trevor Lifeline, the only national 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ youth is 1-866-488-7386.
- Veterans Crisis Line, for U.S. military veterans, call 1-800-273-8255, press 1.
- The BridgeWay provides no-cost assessments, call 1-800-245-0011.
Do Your Part
It is possible to remain socially connected while practicing physical distance during this time of COVID-19. Make it a point to call a family member or friend and make an emotional connection each day. Use electronic means (Zoom, FaceTime) to connect.
Showing sincere interest in another person’s life can build stronger relationships, and listening to others’ issues can help shed new light and perspective on our own challenges. Research indicates that a sense of belonging and social connectedness improves physical, mental and emotional well-being. In fact, connectedness is a proven protective factor against suicide.
While we do not definitively know how this pandemic might impact the U.S., we do know that the number of suicides has increased over the past months, as have calls to the Help Lines. Risk factors for suicide include isolation, financial strain, increased substance use and physical health issues – all factors experienced by our society and exacerbated during this crisis. We want our community to know there are actions that can help. Effective programs and services exist, and assistance is available.
Know someone who may need help? Reach out. Direct them to a Crisis Line or to a Behavioral Health provider. In case of emergency, call 911. We all have a role to play in suicide prevention – not only during the month of September, but all year long.