September marks National Suicide Awareness Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By by Dr. Annette Peartree-Mandley, Violence Prevention Integrator

   September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 9 – 15, with World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10.

   During this day and week, individuals and organizations will be drawing attention to the problem of suicide and advocating prevention of this terrible tragedy. This month is used to reach out to those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services and resources. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to assist those experiencing difficulties.
Anyone can participate in Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. There are activities that individuals and various organizations can conduct to bring awareness to suicide prevention. The awareness generated in September has the potential to have an enormous impact in our nation, in our state, on Westover ARB, and even the chance to save a life. 

   National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 9 – 15, with World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is an overlooked and widespread epidemic. The World Health Organization estimates that suicide is the 13th-leading cause of death worldwide and the National Safety Council rates it as the sixth cause of death in the United States. It is a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under 35 and the rate of suicide is higher for males than females. It is estimated that 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides occur every year worldwide.

   Active suicide prevention requires stepping outside of your comfort zone. People often mistakenly think that if you talk about it, it may make people consider it. This is a myth. No one should have to deal with suicide alone. Through caring involvement, education and support, we can prevent the future risk of suicide and save lives.

   So you ask, “What can I do?”
1. Be the one to . . .  ask questions. Are you thinking about suicide? How can I help? Are you ok? Do you need help? Will you join me for lunch?
2. Be Inclusive instead of Excluding . . . someone who is alone
3. Show a Random Act of Kindness . . .one small Act can Save a Life
4. Be there . . . as a friend, mentor, co-worker, or family to lend a helping hand

   Additionally, reservists can participate in the Westover “You Matter” initiative for Suicide Prevention Month (and throughout the year). The UTA activity takes place at the Westover Club Sept. 15. Organizers will set up a table for individuals to paint a positive message, word, or picture on a rock. These “Kindness Rocks” will be placed at various locations throughout Westover ARB, as a reminder that “You Matter.” You are a valuable member of the Westover family as well as to your own family.

   For more information about suicide prevention and a list of resources, to sign up for training, or to arrange to have the “You Matter” initiative for your unit, please contact Lisa Delgado, DPH at (413) 557- 2456 or Annette Mandley, VPI at (413) 557-7139.