- SHARON L. BLACK
#Suicideprevention is everyone’s job.
It’s the role of faith-based communities, individuals, groups, organizations and communities. We all must spread awareness, offer hope and know that recovery is possible.
Every 12 minutes a person dies from #suicide in the #UnitedStates. That means someone’s brother, sister, mother, dad or loved one.
Further, the #suicide rate for individuals with serious #mentalillness and mood disorders, such as #depression or bipolar disorder, is 25 times that of the general public.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
#Mentaldisorders and emotional distress are common in the #UnitedStates, with one in five adults having a diagnosable #mentaldisorder. A national survey of #Americans found that 18.5% of adults (18 or older) experience a #mentalillness in any one year. This is equivalent to 43.8 million people.
Anyone can have thoughts of #suicide regardless of their background. Often, #suicide may be the result of an untreated #mentalhealthcondition.
In many cases, friends and family affected by #suicide loss (often called “#suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark. Shame and #stigma are contributing factors for individuals not talking openly about their feelings and thoughts. This is unfortunate, because talking about feelings and thoughts is the very thing that can save lives by preventing #suicide.
There are things that you can do to help:
• Have conversations with your loved ones about #suicideprevention.
• Become an advocate.
• Know warning signs of #suicide.
Warning signs include:
• Threatening to hurt or kill oneself.
• Seeking access to means, such as a gun or pills.
• Talking, writing, or posting on #socialmedia about death, dying or #suicide.
• Feeling hopeless, worthless or a lack of purpose.
• Acting recklessly or engaging in risky behaviors.
• Feeling trapped.
• Having a dramatic change in mood.
• Withdrawing from family, friends or society.
• Increasing alcohol or drug use.
HopeHealth is committed to raising awareness not only throughout the organization but also in the communities we serve by ensuring staff have the resources to recognize such warning signs and help prevent #suicide through training programs such as:
Question Persuade Refer training (QPR) – QPR is designed to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven #suicideprevention training. It helps individuals learn how to recognize the warning signs of a #suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help. QPR helps everyone know what to do in these situations. You do not have to be a #mentalhealthprofessional to effectively assist someone in crisis.
Zero #Suicide training – Zero #Suicide is an initiative that aims to improve organizational screenings and detection of those at potential risk for #suicide. These efforts show #suicide deaths for those seen in health care systems could be dramatically reduced by as much as 75% through a system-wide approach, according to the Zero #Suicide Academy.
#MentalHealth First Aid training (MHFA) – The MHFA program provided #mentalhealth first aid training for HopeHealth staff and providers, as well as agencies and communities across the state. This training was sponsored by the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association to help individuals recognize when a person is in distress and how to intervene appropriately. While not targeting #suicide solely, the interventions can certainly help to prevent #suicide by assisting those in crisis and helping in a responsive, nonthreatening and supportive way.
If you or someone else is in crisis, please take advantage of these resources:
• Dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
• South Carolina Community Crisis Response and Intervention (24/7): 1.833.364.2274.
• #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline (24/7): 1.800.273.8255 or Espanol: 1.888.628.9454.
• Crisis text line: Text HELP to 741741.
• #SuicidePreventLifeline online chat: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat
Sharon Black is the #behavioralhealth consultant manager at HopeHealth. She has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and a Master of Ministry degree from Luther Rice College, Lithonia, Georgia. She is a member of the National Association of Social Work and the Health Minister Association.
Oct. 4-10 is #MentalIllness Awareness Week
#Mentalhealthconditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during #MentalIllness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for #mentalhealthadvocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as #MentalIllness Awareness Week (MIAW), advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about #mentalillness.
#MentalIllness Awareness Week runs from Oct. 4-10 and coincides with additional related events:
• Tuesday, Oct. 6: National Day of Prayer for #MentalIllness Recovery and Understanding.
• Thursday, Oct. 8: National #Depression Screening Day.
• Saturday, Oct. 10: #WorldMentalHealthDay.
• Saturday, Oct. 10: NAMIWalks National Day of Hope.
#NAMI continues a year-long awareness campaign, #YouAreNotAlone, to feature the stories of people affected by #mentalillness to fight #stigma, inspire others and educate the broader public. Now more than ever, the #mentalhealthcommunity must come together and show that no one is ever really alone. No one should be without the information, support, connection and help they need. Find out more at #nami.org (#nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/#MentalIllness-Awareness-Week).