Suicide Prevention Month 2023
Since 2008, September has been dedicated to Suicide Prevention Month.
It’s been 15 years but there is still so much awareness needed about this topic. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) latest campaign “Talk Away the Dark” is a touching discussion between a daughter and father surrounding the stigma of mental health and suicide.
AFSP believes there are many reasons why people shy away from this discussion, a common one being, “We might worry that saying the wrong thing will make it worse. So, we end up not saying anything – even though a few kind words can make the difference in connecting someone to help or supporting someone who experienced a suicide loss.”
For me, Suicide Awareness Month means I stand a little taller, speak a little louder, and try with all my heart to be the voice for the more than 49,000 people that died in 2022 from suicide. The number of people that have attempted is considerably higher. But we have to have HOPE.
Despite the grim statistics, some say there is reason for optimism.
The National crisis line 988 was launched in July of 2022. Anyone in the U.S. can dial or text 988 to reach mental health specialists. With the implementation of 988, calls to the crisis line have doubled and texts to the number have increased more than 1,000%.
Another reason for HOPE is that the CDC is expanding a suicide program to fund more prevention work in different communities. And there’s growing awareness of the issue and that it’s OK to ask for help. We’ve learned that sometimes it”s ok not to be ok.
It’s been almost 12 years since Brian died by suicide. Never did I imagine my life as a mother would take this path. Through the years I’ve learned that the why’s I ask will never be answered. But now, I know what I didn’t know then. I know that talking about mental health, maybe one family might have the conversation that I didn’t even know how to have. Or I know that I can be there for a family in their darkest days and let them know they are not alone.
This is the month I will share, I will educate, I will advocate, and do whatever I need to be heard because I can and because I do it for Brian and the thousands of others we lost or that are struggling.
This month and every month, I ask for your help and support to start the conversation on mental health and suicide awareness.