By now you may have heard about or seen headlines that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. According to NAMI, 41,000 individuals die by suicide each year. At MFCC, we believe continuing to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide is vital and requires on-going conversations with those around us. While sharing hotline information and resources for others to turn to if in crisis is important, there are also steps to early intervention that can and should be part of our everyday life.
“Ultimately, though, the future of suicide prevention is a holistic approach, both in our own lives and in public policies. It thrives on a feeling of responsibility for each other – one that exists beyond just posting a phone number and relying on the people on the other end to do the tough work.” (Lindsay Holmes, Huffington Post 9/10/18)
Here are three ways you can be more present in the lives of those around you:
Check in with those around you frequently. Call, text, or email. Sure, maybe you’re an introvert and prefer others do the asking, but stretching outside of your comfort zone to let others know you are present and you care is important. Rubbing elbows with those around us daily (friends, family and even those you don’t know well) is crucial to building a relationship where one feels comfortable reaching out if they are ever in crisis.
Be their connection to the world outside their door. Oftentimes loneliness and isolation play large factors in one’s decision to consider suicide. Remind them they are not alone, continue to invite them to do things, call them up to go have coffee, or ask them to come along when you go shopping. And, if they continually turn you down, be prepared to leave your hurt feelings at the door and keep trying.
If someone stops responding to you, show up at their door. We all get busy, and sometimes life means we don’t respond as fast or as quickly to messages or emails as we’d like, but if someone you know stops responding, show up in person and knock on their door.