September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and next Monday, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. As demonstrated by the recent suicides of celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, as well as Jamel Myles, a 9-year-old boy who killed himself last week after being bullied, suicide is a major issue and a leading cause of death in the United States. A recent report from the CDC shows that suicide rates have risen across the country since 1999, with rates of increase being particularly high among teenagers.
In an effort to raise awareness of prevention efforts and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help, the National Council for Suicide Prevention (NCSP) launched the Take 5 to Save Lives campaign. The goal of the campaign is to encourage everyone to take 5 simple actions steps that focus on preventing the tragedy of suicide.
1. LEARN THE SIGNS. Although it may not always be obvious, individuals experiencing an emotional crisis usually exhibit one or more of the warning signs of suicide. Your ability to identify the signs will better prepare you to take action and could help save a life.
2. DO YOUR PART. Teachers, parents, students, caregivers, and countless other stakeholders all play a vital role in preventing the tragedy of suicide. Preventing suicide is a collective responsibility. Learn how you can do more to raise awareness and prevent suicide.
3. PRACTICE SELF-CARE. Research indicates that our mental fitness or wellness is crucial to our overall long-term health, and can even protect us from disease. Learn some tips for keeping mentally fit. Make it a priority!
4. REACH OUT. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress you must reach out for help. You are not alone. Learn about different help options and how to take that first step in seeking help and care.
5. SPREAD THE WORD. Let's get people talking! By sharing the Take 5 campaign with 5 other people we can raise awareness of problem of suicide and equip people with easy tools to help themselves and others. Share the campaign on or before World Suicide Prevention Day- September 10, 2018.
I encourage you to take five minutes between now and September 10th to help prevent suicide.