Taken directly from the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, “September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. NAMI is here to help.”
Suicide is a topic that I have touched upon previously on this blog. It is a topic that I, personally, am not afraid to talk about. And you shouldn’t be either.
90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. Ninety percent. This number makes me sick for the sole reason that if people weren’t so afraid to talk about mental illness, this number may not be this high today. Starting a conversation could save a life.
For those of you who don’t think a difference will be made, I will take you back to the MTV Video Music Awards from Sunday, August 27, 2017. Rapper Logic gave us an extremely powerful performance of his song 1-800-273-8255, delivering a message about mental health awareness set on a stage with attempted suicide survivors – a message that healing and hope are possible, no matter the crisis – a message that will continue to have a lasting impact on the lives’ of others.
Don’t think that Logic starting a conversation mattered? You are wrong. Three days later, the New York Times reported that there was a 50% increase in call volume to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline after the awards show. He saved a life. So can you.
In three days, I, along with many of my close friends and family, will be walking in the Out of the Darkness Walk in Buffalo, New York. I will be doing this in memory of one of my dear friends who I lost to suicide back in April. You can read all about our team here.
Since we set this team up a few months ago, it has continued to blow me away every single day at how many people out there are willing to join in for a great cause. I remember my friend’s mom wanting to set a goal of $1,000 for our team. At the starting point, it seemed reasonable, and almost too good to be true. As of today, we are at $7,630 and are the first place team for the Buffalo walk. No, being in first place does not matter – not one bit as a matter of fact. What matters is the awareness and the fight – but when you see so much generosity and so many good people coming together for a good cause, you can’t help but smile.
If you are in the Western New York community, join in. If there is an Out of the Darkness walk in your area, join in. This is a stigma that needs to be ended.
We must make our voices heard very loud and strong about mental illness, mental illness stigma and suicide prevention. It is critical. It is crucial. Each life is priceless. We must stop this.