TW: This post discusses suicide.
As I wrote earlier this week, September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the United States. This month is extremely important to me for many reasons, and I’m not alone in feeling that. There are so many more people than you may realize who are going through difficult moments, and so many people that have dealt with – or are continuously dealing with – these struggles on a daily basis. Last year, I wrote about some of the resources to turn to for suicide prevention, but I thought I would update that list this year because of the current state of the world. I believe education and awareness are still lacking when it comes to discussing the topic of suicide, which is why we need to continue sharing these resources as far and wide as possible.
One of the reasons that awareness can continue to be lacking is because when someone is struggling with suicidal feelings, ‘reaching out’ isn’t as easy as it seems. Does that person have anyone to reach out to? Even if they do, do they feel comfortable enough to do so? And if that person does feel comfortable, is the person they’re reaching out to willing/able to help? So many questions…and that’s just one of the many possible scenarios.
Either way, whether you’re the one struggling or providing help to someone struggling, everyone should be aware of the suicide prevention resources that are available – and there are more resources than ever. Below are some links and descriptions to some of the more well-known suicide prevention resources, websites and phone numbers. In addition, these organizations have updated their resources and information to include education on suicide prevention during COVID-19. If you have any questions about anything I’ve listed, let me know and we can talk about it!
Notable Suicide Prevention Lifelines
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Know this number. Save this number in your contacts. Put this number in your friends and loved ones’ phones. 1-800-273-8255. 1-800-273-8255. 1-800-273-8255. You should also know that ANYONE can call this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for FREE. The Lifeline provides “free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.” But this suicide prevention center offers many other resources other than just the hotline – there’s an online chat if you can’t talk on the phone, as well as specific resources for Veterans, LGBTQ+, Attempt Survivors and other groups of people who could be at risk.
Crisis Text Line
Talking on the phone isn’t always the best option, and that’s where the Crisis Text Line can help. By texting ‘TALK’ to 741741, you can have a confidential text conversation with someone. The first priority for the Crisis Text line ‘is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy.’ In fact, this line is used for all types of crises, and more than 100 million text messages have been since in the six years since its inception.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
The SPRC is the only federally supported resource center specifically about suicide prevention, and they offer information on the best techniques and approaches for suicide prevention. This site is especially helpful in some of the training they offer including online courses and webinars. They’ve also updated their resources to include suicide prevention in the wake of COVID-19, and ways to cope with coronavirus.
The Trevor Project
Founded specifically to focus on suicide prevention for young people in the LGBTQ+ community, the Trevor Project offers several free resources to immediately help those in need including the Trevor Lifeline (1-866-488-7386), Trevor Chat, Trevor Text and Trevor Space (you can reach all of these through their ‘Get Help Now’ page).
Veterans Crisis Line
Like many of the resources offered here, the Veterans Crisis Line offers a confidential hotline, online chat and text support. Another important resource this crisis line provides is that after a call or chat, you can be referred to a Suicide Prevention Coordinator at that person’s local VA medical center.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) national helpline can provide more helpful support not only to people struggling with their mental health but also substance abuse (or both). The helpline makes it a point to note that they take calls in both English and Spanish.
The Trans Lifeline was founded in 2014 as a peer-crisis support hotline, they are a “trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive.” Their peer-support hotline (877-565-8860) is available from 10am-4pm EST in the U.S., and is run both for and by trans people.
*One more resource I’d like to mention is a ‘Resources’ page I found on the website of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Not only are there tons of numbers to crisis lines on this page, but also additional resources based on different mental health conditions. This page might provide way more help than I possibly could so that’s why I included it.
Talking about mental health isn’t easy. Talking about suicide can be even more difficult and complicated. But you are not alone. You matter. You are loved. And I hope and pray that you continue to fight.
Again, I loved this post. I agree that there should be more awareness. But I’m not sure how to get that message out there. I blog, I tweet, I talk to friends and explain suicide prevention, how to spot someone struggling, and what to do if they are supporting someone who’s suicidal.
How else do we educate people and raise awareness?
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s a good question! I think it might also make an excellent prompt for my next post 🙂 But I will say off the top of my head, there are a few things I do that are pretty effective. I have some clothes and gear from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention from events I participated in that I will wear around people or in public, or I will share posts or post things on my own social media during months that aren’t considered ‘Awareness’ months. But I think one of the biggest avenues of getting the message out there is that people who have not personally struggled will also have to speak up know what’s going on too. I don’t see much changing otherwise
LikeLiked by 1 person
Great, and this is what I enjoy about sharing our stories, our knowledge and understanding of mental illness, suicide, and suicide prevention. One prompt leads to another.
Wow, you have clothes to use for promoting awareness? I’ve never heard of that one.
Yes, those that haven’t experienced suicidal thoughts or ideation, or someone dying by suicide — of course, they won’t understand. I’ve just posted another suicide update, talking about how we ALL have a responsibility for suicide prevention.
I wonder whether we’ll ever see any changes?
LikeLiked by 1 person