Suicide Prevention – How We Can All Help
Today is the last day in September, and as the month comes to an end, so does National Suicide Prevention Month. Before the craze of the upcoming holidays takes over, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on how we can help in the coming months, and even years — how we can help ourselves, and as families and friends, community members, and professionals, how we can help others.
In 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that Colorado’s suicide rate was one of the highest in the nation at 20.30 per 10,000. Below we have compiled recent innovations, resources, and ways to get involved so we can all do our part to help reduce that number and support those in need.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings, please know that you are not alone and there are people who want to support you and help you. Here are some important resources and numbers to keep in mind for those moments you feel the most need.
Colorado Crisis Services
Or text TALK to 38255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis Text Line
Text HELLO to 741741
Find A Therapist
Finding a professional to speak with can be life-changing and help you maintain your safety. There are many, many ways to find a therapist. You can do a local search in your area, ask for recommendations from people you trust, or you can use an online directory using the links below to help you in your search:
Learning how to watch for the warning signs in someone you care for can be invaluable information to have. One great resource can be found here from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Additionally, although simple, sometimes the best we can remember to do is to simply talk to those we are worried about. One myth that seems to persist is that asking someone if they are suicidal will encourage them or put the idea in their head. In fact, we know that talking with someone about whether or not they are considering suicide can help reduce their risk. If you aren’t sure what you might say, this article is a good starting point.
Getting involved in suicide prevention work can be rewarding and makes all the difference to those at risk of suicide. There are many different ways to help but getting educated about resources and giving of your time to some local non-profits or agencies that support suicide prevention work are great places to begin. Below are some suggestions for getting started:
- Volunteer with your local American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) chapter
- Join the #bethe1to movement to help spread a message of hope and support
- Here in Colorado, you can download the Safe2Tell app where you can anonymously report anything concerning or threatening to you
- Look up your local crisis center and ask how you can offer your support
For those who regularly work with clients in high risk situations and in suicide crises, it is important to remember how valuable you are as a resource to that person and their support network. Here are some quick, simple reminders and examples of ways that you can stay involved in suicide prevention work.
1. Attend continuing education training and workshops regularly that focus on suicide prevention. It allows you to connect with your local community and hear about progress and updates within the field.
2. Consider ways to streamline your suicide assessment and safety planning with the help of new tools in the field, such as the Community Assessment and Coordination of Safety (CACS) – an application designed for professionals to screen and assess suicide risk, as well as safety plan and connect the person at-risk with local resources within Colorado, all within one app.
4. As with community members, it is just as important to have experienced mental health professionals willing to engage in ongoing support of movements, agencies, non-profits, and crisis centers. Some local Colorado examples include:
- SecondWind Fund
- AFSP Colorado
- Catalyst Collective
- Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
5. Do not forget to regularly engage in self-care and find your own supports so that you can continue to help those individuals in need for many years to come.