In the three years since I started this blog, I have gained more and more courage to speak on many topics in the mental health space. Every September, I try to write a few posts for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month to raise awareness, education and resources. I also try to write a post for World Suicide Prevention Day that tries to bring the discussion to the forefront (you can find the 2020 post here). And while I am proud of how I’ve grown into being able to speak on this topic, I also think I was pretty harsh on myself in the past because I thought I wasn’t qualified to talk about suicide prevention. Recently though, I’ve learned how wrong I’ve been – and where I can go from here.
Whether it’s a lack of self-esteem, imposter syndrome or some other reason, I sometimes find it difficult to feel confident about talking about mental health. Even though I’ve been writing on this topic for three years and learned so much about mental health advocacy and education, I still have doubts about sharing what I’ve learned. And while I know I’ll always struggle with that in some way, I tend to forget the advice that I give often – that each one of us has a role to play when it comes to mental health. More specifically, each of us also has a role to play when it comes to suicide prevention.
Asking ‘What Can We Do?’
Part of the inspiration for this post was from a very good post from a blogging friend of mine who asked the question, ‘who is responsible for suicide prevention?’ (if you have a minute, it’s a very helpful post that was written for World Suicide Prevention Day). First off, I want to point out how important it is that there are people asking this question and working for answers. By listing the many ways we can help, Caz and other bloggers are creating opportunities for us to learn where we can aid in suicide prevention.
This post was a very excellent one for many reasons, and one more thing it did was make me think about two very important reminders related to suicide prevention. The first point, which I’ve said before and will continue to preach, is that everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. But the second point is what I need to remind myself of more often, and that is that while we all have a role to play, the role we have in suicide prevention looks different for everyone.
Your Role in Suicide Prevention is Just That – YOURS!
Convincing people that they have a role in suicide prevention isn’t easy but to be honest, it’s also not a debate. Every single one of us has a role to play. It can be as simple as sharing a post on social media or sending a text to someone to catch up. This idea that we all have to take on the fight against suicide in every single way possible is difficult to make happen because, just like other areas of awareness or advocacy, we all have our own capacities for this work. But a little can go a long way, and by continuing the conversation and seeing where we can fit in to this work, we’re making each other stronger in the fight against suicide. And if you ever have questions, there are plenty of people who are there to help.