Life can be significantly challenging; this year has been the ultimate life test for so many. We all cope with stressors in our own way. Trying to obtain space in our lives to avoid what ails us is a common response to crises. However, for some, finding healthy coping options is not always in our immediate grasp and we seek more eternal ways to distance from our life struggles.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, suicide completion has increased by 35% from 1999 to 2018. Men were 3x more likely to complete suicide than females. People over age 75 are more likely to complete suicide than any other age group, with the 45-64 age group close behind. Added challenges such as societal unrest, global medical and economical setbacks and personal unresolved issues, thoughts of suicide as a coping option have increased in our society. How can we help those who may be struggling right now? Here are a few resources that can provide support and community during this difficult time.
In 2005, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was implemented to provide crisis intervention services to all who felt suicidal or were in emotional distress. The support provided by the crisis centers are free and confidential, with 24/7 services. Congress signed into law the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act that will allow the Lifeline to provide their potential callers with a three-digit number that can be used by callers in need. This will simplify the process of calling in as this number will be easier to recall; it should be ready in 2022.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also created a hashtag that provides us with a way to highlight our attention to those who may struggle with suicidal thoughts and identify ways to be involved in the health of our community. This is not simply related to Suicide Prevention Month; we can use these hashtags throughout the year to show solidarity with those who are suffering. Here is a small part of their 2020 campaign:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, has been around since 1979. This mental health organization works to enhance the lives of many who are impacted by mental illness. They provide lots of resources, such as support, education and alliance with other related programs and organizations in the local community to assist those in need.
In addition to providing lots of mental health resources, they provide the global community with suicide prevention resources which include a text hotline. By texting “NAMI” to 741-741, one could be connected to a trained crisis professional and explore their feelings regarding their thoughts of suicide.
This year, in November, the Out of the Darkness Experience provides us all with the opportunity to join family, friends and allies in support of those who have completed suicide or are suicide survivors. As the Acadiana Experience says, “Out of the Darkness is a journey of remembrance, hope, and support. It unites our communities and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and the lives of those we love and care about.” With the support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Out of the Darkness participates in an annual walk that allows the community to rally in solidarity. As this is a local event, it provides an opportunity for us to contribute directly to the cause. Together, we can make a difference in our world, one person at a time.
There are many more organizations out there that can provide support to those who are hurting. Just know this: although it may feel like it, you are not alone. We are here and we want to help. If you are having intense, focused thoughts of suicide and feeling that living is outside of your control, please do not hesitate to call a friend, a mentor or any of the following numbers:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741