Suicide Prevention Is A Shared Responsibility. What’s Your Role?
Last Updated: 21 Sep 2021
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September is Suicide Prevention Month. Here are 5 ways you can make a difference for people experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
In the United States, an average of 130 people die by suicide every day. If that number sends chills down your spine, you’re not alone. But here’s another number. 93%. A recent poll shared that 93% of adults in this country believe that suicide is preventable. That number right there gives us hope, drives us to keep fighting to save our friends and neighbors in pain, to keep implementing creative solutions to end suicide. This September — or #SuicidePreventionMonth — we’re thinking about the role we all play in keeping our friends, loved ones, and community members safe.
Working Together To Prevent Suicide
At Endeavors, we resolutely believe that suicide is 100% preventable for people receiving professional, comprehensive services and support. Most often, people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behavior don’t want to die. They just want to find a way to end the pain they’re experiencing, and sometimes death can seem like the only solution.
But death by suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
The good news is, professional care and support can save and change the life of someone who has considered or attempted suicide. People considering suicide are infinitely more likely to survive if they have personal support, too — people in their corner with the courage to speak up, intervene, and be there every step of the journey to recovery.
5 Ways You Can Help Prevent Suicide
Early Recognition + Timely Intervention = Lives Saved
- Know The Signs
Have you ever noticed changes in someone’s behavior, but couldn’t pinpoint the common theme? These changes in mood, talk, and behavior can be indicators of suicidal thoughts. Even jokes about dying could be a warning, a cry for help. If you recognize one or more of these signs, it’s worth reaching out with a question of genuine concern.
- Speak Up About Your Concerns
While we may be hesitant, research shows that people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behavior feel relief when someone asks about their wellbeing in a caring way.
If someone tells you they’re considering suicide, do not leave them alone and never promise to keep that information a secret.
- Know How To Get Help
When we get into a car accident, or someone breaks into our house, we know who to call. But do you know how to get help for someone considering suicide? The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a network of over 180 crisis centers providing immediate accredited support and resources 24/7.
By July of 2022, 9-8-8 will be established nationwide as the three-digit emergency number for Suicide Prevention. When someone dials 9-8-8, they’ll be automatically routed to a local crisis center staffed by accredited and trained suicide prevention and mental health specialists.
Until July of 2022, the National Suicide Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.
Memorize this number. Save it in your phone. Have it ready when you or someone you love needs help.
- Raise Awareness In The Community
Each year, organizations across the country host different events to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. These community-based activities directly support the suicide prevention effort, with the added bonus of exercise endorphins that benefit your own physical and mental wellbeing.
Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for a list of running, biking, walking, and hiking events across the country that support suicide prevention.
5. Build Safe Online Communities
The internet can be an incredible resource and platform for connection, but it can also be a space of harsh judgement, unrealistic standards, and hurtful comparison. You can help keep the internet safe by reporting users who share hurtful content, supporting users who display suicidal thoughts online, and living by the golden rule on social media.
Many commonly used social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Discord) allow users to contact their safety team about individuals displaying concerning behavior online, and they will reach out to that person directly with resources to help.
Endeavors And Suicide Prevention
Mental Health Care At The Cohen Clinics
In partnership with the Cohen Veterans Network, a nonprofit serving Veterans and military families across the country, Endeavors provides high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental health care at our Cohen Clinics in San Antonio, Killeen, and El Paso. Our therapists support post-9/11 Veterans (regardless of role while in uniform, discharge status, or combat experience), active duty service members (with a TRICARE referral), and military families. Our clinic services include:
- Individual and Group Therapy (in-person or virtual)
- Case Management
- Life Skills & Wellness Events
- Support Groups
Veteran Supportive Services
Endeavors’ Veteran Supportive Services program in Texas helps Veterans in need (and their families) build stable, self-sufficient, and healthy lives by addressing the stressors that can lead to mental health problems and suicidal thoughts and behavior. VSS offers homelessness prevention services, including rapid re-housing, rental assistance, mental health services, access to substance abuse programs, job placement, and skills workshops.
(Find a Veteran Supportive Services office near you.)
The Zero Suicide Initiative
Endeavors was recently awarded a $2 million grant to integrate a Zero Suicide Initiative across all four pillars of our organization — Veteran Support & Wellness, Emergency Services, Community Based Services, and Migrant Services. This blog post shares the entire story about the grant and how it will help Endeavors further our goal of zero suicides.
Wellness At The Veteran Wellness Center
This November, Endeavors is hosting the Grand Opening of its state-of-the-art Veteran Wellness Center in San Antonio! Thanks to the support of generous donors, this state-of-the-art wellness center will offer Veterans a range of wellness services to enhance their mental, physical, and overall well being, as well as support their families, dependents, and caregivers.
Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than non-Veteran adults, and female Veterans are 2.2 times more likely to die by suicide than non-Veterans. With this in mind, the VWC will focus on suicide prevention by offering wellness services that support the Veteran with physical fitness classes and access to a state of the art fitness center, along with mental health and substance use disorder recovery treatment.
This #SuicidePreventionMonth, invest a few minutes to review the signs of suicide and the resources near you. If you have more time, sign up for a local awareness or fundraising event, or considering giving to an Endeavors program working to end suicide. Together, we can save lives.
About Endeavors and Cohen Veterans Network
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.
Cohen Veterans Network is a 501(c)(3) national not for profit philanthropic network of mental health clinics for post-9/11 veterans and their families. CVN focuses on improving mental health outcomes, via a network of outpatient mental health clinics for veterans and their families in high-need communities, in which trained clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions. The network currently has 19 clinics in operation serving veterans and their families across the country. Learn more about Cohen Veterans Network.