Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September serves as a month for Suicide Prevention Awareness. This month is a time to spread information to those affected by suicide, encouraging individuals to bring their voices together to advocate for mental health. While this topic is important to address year-round, this month serves as a dedicated time period to have these difficult conversations in hope that it can start a discussion and provide solace to a community. Too many people have struggled and been impacted by the serious tragedy of suicide. The first step to advocating for any sort of awareness is to educate others and yourself on this topic.
Many of us are facing challenges that we may have never experienced before, due to the pandemic; however, we encourage you to check-in on those around you to see how they are doing. We have outlined some methods on how friends and family members can help those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and distress in regard to their mental well being.
1. Recognize the Signals
To assist with prevention, it is important to be able to identify and recognize the typical warning signs of someone contemplating suicide and/or struggling with mental health related issues. Being aware of new behaviors can help one determine when to express their concerns. It is important to note that warning signs may vary for all individuals experiencing mental distress and the these signs may include, but are not limited to:
Feelings of hopelessness
Losing interest in activities
Frequently discussing suicide
Withdrawing from friends and family
2. Do Not Disregard Their Emotions
If an individual you know seems to be going through a mental health related crisis and experiencing suicidal thoughts, it can be very challenging to understand the best way to approach the situation. The opportunity to have these conversations may help prevent the chances of an individual acting on suicide and provide them with a gateway to reach out for help through available resources. It is important to start by asking questions; to find out if the individual is in danger of acting on these thoughts. Ensure that you are remaining sensitive, while asking these direct questions, such as:
Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
How are you dealing with what has been going on?
Are you experiencing thoughts of giving up?
3. Encourage the Individual to Get Help
It is essential to actively encourage the individual to seek professional help immediately. Support them by helping them find a trained mental health professional or a reputable treatment facility to ensure their safety. If you are in a situation where you feel that an individual may cause harm to themselves or someone else in the present moment, call 9-1-1. If an individual is struggling with suicide related thoughts, but there are no signs of immediate violence to themselves or another individual, it is important to ensure that the person has a safety contact available to them at all times, such as the Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566. If you are concerned about someone having suicidal thoughts, it is recommended that you reach out to the Canada Suicide Prevention Service on their behalf to seek guidance and determine if the organization can provide specific services and support to the individual.
It is important that the SPROTT and Carleton community look out for one another. If you or somebody you know is experiencing mental health distress, please reach out to a trained professional for support. We have attached some resources for more information: