In the three years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve learned a lot about mental health and mental illness, but the topic I’ve learned the most about has been suicide prevention. As we reach the end of another year of Suicide Prevention Month, I try to take some time and reflect on what I’ve learned and the info and resources that have been shared. And since I love finding the perfect word or phrase to try to wrap up all the things I write, I spend too much time trying to find that one perfect thing to say. In reality, it probably won’t come this month, because while we’re wrapping up this month, we’re not finished talking about suicide prevention.
It’s been a busy month for My Brain’s Not Broken! We’ve shared statistics, we talked about resources and we discussed our role in suicide prevention and how we talk about the topic with our community. Like other aspects of mental health, there is a lot to cover when it comes to suicide prevention, but there’s always work to be done when it comes to suicide prevention.
Like so many others, this month can leave people tired or mentally exhausted, and it feels like there’s not much else to say. I’m definitely part of that crowd, but this month I also feel a little more empowered than usual to keep up the work. I hope I can ride the momentum and continue to be as outspoken as I’ve felt this month. I’m sure there will be times where I get discouraged, and of course there will be times where I can’t because I’ll be fighting my own battle. But there is always work we can do when it comes to suicide prevention, and there is never a wrong time to do it. We all have different ways of speaking out against suicide prevention, and it’s important to find what works for you.
Three years ago, I participated in my first Out of the Darkness Community Walk, which is an hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Every fall, hundreds of these walks are held in towns and cities all around the country with the intention to raise awareness and funds to the cause of suicide and suicide prevention.
When I went to my first walk, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was blown away. Now, it’s become a part of my yearly routine – even this year, where there isn’t a walk but an online experience where you’re encouraged to walk in your own community, I am ready to show up (virtually) and support and advocate for suicide prevention. But suicide prevention isn’t limited to one organization or group! There are so many organizations out there fighting suicide, and I’d encourage you to look and see where you could provide an impact in your community.
I hope you can find your own way to help, whether it’s by volunteering time or money to an organization, or just taking a minute to check in with someone in your life. Because even the smallest outreach can have the largest impact. There is always work to do, and there is always good to do. It’s a complicated issue, but an issue worth facing. Because the fight against suicide will continue, and we can’t give up now.
This is my fourth year of participating in the AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk. This year, the event has been changed to an ‘Out of the Darkness Experience, but I will still be raising money and walking for suicide prevention in my community. If you have a moment to check out my fundraising page I’d greatly appreciate it! You can also learn about the work the AFSP does here. What will you do to continue your work in suicide prevention? Let me know in the comments below!