As we edge closer and closer towards fall, I wanted to take an intentional moment to name what this month is in the mental health community. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, with Suicide Prevention Day falling on Saturday, September 10th. This month brings forth the opportunity for us as a community to raise awareness, remember those who we have lost, and rally together to fundraise to support suicide prevention efforts.
While the stigma surrounding authentic conversations about suicide has been diminishing, suicide rates continue to climb. Advocating for suicide prevention this month can look many ways. It can look whatever way feels best to you in this moment. Engaging with the conversation is a great first step, and you as the reader have already taken that step by reading this blog. While you are here, I wanted to show you some other ways to get involved this month.
How to show support this month:
Sharing a social media post: This is a low energy, no cost, relatively quick step to take. The link below actually provides you access to a plethora of these infographics in their social media toolkit, so…happy posting!
Learn the warning signs: This action might take a bit more energy, but I can imagine it being helpful when navigating real life situations with co-workers, friends, and family members. This step can also allow for further empathy to be built and to reinforce our passion to advocate.
Attending a suicide prevention walk: The Nashville Out of Darkness walk on October 29th will take place at Centennial Park! The link below will allow you to donate or register and will also answer questions you might have about parking, timing, and goals for the walk.
Walks such as the Nashville out of Darkness walk are somewhat of a protest. When we walk, we are using energy and reclaiming space together to unite for suicide prevention. This act of protest symbolizes a proactive community that is willing to band together to fight for the health of their members. There is power in numbers and there is power in vulnerability, and both of which can be found at a suicide prevention walk. This sends an empowering message of hope and support to the community, including those who could be actively struggling with suicidality.
Walking in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones to suicide can be both healing and heavy concurrently. While it is often difficult to hold both of those feelings at the same time, it is important to extend attention and love to both. It is imperative to feel the weight of suicide to ignite urgency for change. It is equally imperative to flourish in the healing found in this space. All parts of your being can be filled at one of these events, as it could encourage educational, spiritual, emotional, and even physical growth. Personally, this month and these walks weigh heavy on my heart, so I know that my self-care practices will need to be amplified throughout these vulnerable yet powerful moments with my community. As we walk through this month together as a community, I challenge you to take a bold step towards change!