September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to join together to promote suicide prevention awareness all month long. As the second-leading cause of death among 10- to 19-year-olds, suicide is a significant cause of concern for today’s educators. How can you help and give hope to those who are struggling?
This September, #BeThe1To is the message the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is sharing in order to spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. Here are five steps the organization recommends when communicating with someone who may be suicidal:
- Ask: Opening the door for effective dialogue may help reduce suicidal ideation. People who are having thoughts of suicide may even feel relief when someone asks them questions like “Are you thinking about suicide?” in a caring way.
- Be there: Being there for someone who is suicidal—whether in person, on the phone, or in some other way—can be lifesaving. After speaking to someone who listens without judgment, struggling individuals may feel less depressed, suicidal, and overwhelmed. In addition, they’re more likely to feel hopeful.
- Keep them safe: Once you’ve determined suicide is being talked about, it’s imperative to establish whether the individual has a specific plan and whether or not they have access to their planned method. Reducing access to their chosen method is an important part of suicide prevention.
- Help them connect: Connecting struggling individuals to ongoing supports and a network of resources can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness. The resources included below can offer support to those in crisis.
- Follow up: Checking in is an important part of suicide prevention. Supportive, ongoing contact can help reduce the risk of suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, the following resources are available to help:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- TrevorLifeline: Call 1-866-488-7386, text START to 678-678, or chat online
- Find a Helpline: Directory of links to free emotional support
- RemedyLIVE: 24-hour mental health chat center
By increasing awareness and taking action to support those who may be suicidal, you can help keep students safe and avoid tragedies.