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September Is Suicide Prevention Month!

by Soraya Alcalá

Learn How You Can Take Action

Generally taking place the week after Labor Day, National Suicide Prevention Week begins with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) recognizes the entire month of September as National Suicide Prevention Month: a moment in time in which we rally the public to create awareness of this leading cause of death, and inspire more and more people to learn how they can play a role in their communities in helping to save lives.

This year, AFSP is highlighting the new Talk Away the Dark campaign to shed light on this leading cause of death including the campaign’s PSA film, personal stories and perspectives, shareable social graphics and other materials. We can all make a difference by learning the warning signs, knowing the risk factors, and bravely having a REAL open and honest conversation with someone we care about.

For the month of September, we are encouraging a series of specific actions that offers the public just a few examples of how we can all get involved and make a potentially lifesaving impact within our local communities. See below to read, watch, and learn more about the Talk Away the Dark campaign, and how you can help spread the word and get involved.

Suicide prevention is important every day of the year. National Suicide Prevention Month gives us an opportunity to shine a special, encouraging light on this topic that affects us all, and send a clear, hopeful message that help is available, and suicide can be prevented.

Take Action

There are countless ways you can help Talk Away the Dark by initiating open conversations about mental health; speaking up and making sure more people know what research reveals about how we can help prevent suicide; lighting the way for those in distress to feel comfortable asking for help; and knowing what to say to support survivors of suicide loss and provide them the care they need.

These are just a few actions you can take this September and beyond:

  • Join a local AFSP chapter and Walk with us this fall
    • AFSP’s local chapters bring together dedicated volunteers, many of whom have a personal connection to the cause. Our chapters form a community of people who lead by example, spreading hope through local programs, activities and events. Our Out of the Darkness Walks, taking place in communities everywhere, raise awareness and much-needed funds, strongly sending the message that suicide can be preventable, and that no one is alone.
  • Advocate for support for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, and other mental health policies that will make a difference
    • Speak your mind and let your public officials know you’re ready to stand up by becoming a Volunteer Advocate and learning more how we can support issues like funding and support for 988
  • Educate by bringing the Talk Saves Lives program to your school or workplace
    • Knowledge and understanding deepens conversations. AFSP’s flagship education program is available in specialized modules, including TSL: Latinx and Hispanic Communities – which you can bring to your community for National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15-Oct 15)
  • Attend an International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event
    • Those who have lost a loved one to suicide often feel hesitant to tell others the type of loss they have experienced. September is a great time to spread the word about the hundreds of local and virtual “Survivor Day” events taking place November 18 – including Día de Esperanza (Day of Hope) for the Hispanic community November 17 – enabling survivors of suicide loss to come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience.
  • Watch a special episode of “Ask Dr. Jill”
    • Research helps us understand what leads someone to suicide, and how we may effectively save more lives. This September, you can tune in to a special episode of Ask Dr. Jill, featuring AFSP’s Senior Vice President of Research, Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman with guest Dr. Madelyn Gould, an expert on suicide contagion and reporting and storytelling practices that safely drive the national conversation
  • Connect people to help through the Interactive Screening Program (ISP)
    • Even when people know about available mental health services, shame, fear, and embarrassment often prevent them from seeking help. ISP is a customized platform that starts a confidential conversation that often leads people to support. Learn how to bring ISP to your own school or organization

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