National Suicide Prevention Week

September is National Suicide Prevention month. September 6-12, 2020 is National Suicide Prevention Week, with September 10 being World Suicide Prevention Day. Let's Jump start this week with things that we can do to help ourselves and others that have contemplated suicide. If you or someone you know is having suicidal ideations, let’s be diligent in educating ourselves on the warning signs, and seek help. We are worth it.

Risk Factors and Warning Signs

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed professional. Information contained in this blog does not constitute, substitute, nor replace the professional advice of a qualified, certified practitioner or counselor. If you are experiencing severe emotional or mental distress, seek professional help immediately. If you are in emotional despair, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available. Pick of the phone and call 1-800-273-8255. Someone is available around the clock to provide you with encouragement and resources to help you get to a place of healing.

Other options for you include getting professional counseling, building a network of support, and making a safety plan.

1. Suicide Prevention Lifeline - The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24 hour 7 days a week network of local crisis centers that provide free, confidential support to people who are experiencing emotional distress or suicidal ideations. The site is filled with resources and materials to help you help you, your family, and friends.
2. Professional Counseling - Finding the right counselor is important. Keep in mind that COVID-19 has many professional services online. You can search for counselors that meet your need. Don't be afraid to ask questions to make sure you get the best fit for you and whether or not insurance is needed.
3. Building Your Network - Who's in your network? You are not alone.
a. Family, friends, church, support groups, or join other interest groups. Know that you are journey, I important, loved, and valued by the people in your network.
b. Stay Connected. Share with the people in your network about how you are feeling. Joining interest groups can forge new friendships of like-minded people. Positive, motivative people can help keep you encouraged.
c. Remember to take on an attitude of gratitude for your network. Just as your network will encourage you, when you can, encourage them and let them know how much you appreciate them.
4. Making a Safety Plan - Take the steps to keep you safe when you may be having thoughts of hurting yourself.
a. Contact someone in your support group that can come to your aid in a time of crisis.
b. Recognize when things are getting out of control and use your coping mechanisms you learned from your counselor, family and friends.
c. Call your doctor, counselor, 911, or suicide hotline.

There was a point, in my life, when I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I was riddled with thoughts of suicide. I recognized that something wasn't right, and I sought the help of my primary physician who referred me to counseling. It wasn't easy because the stigma of mental illness or seeking counseling has been so negative within the African American community. I too, had my own preconceived thoughts on mental illness. I was ashamed to admit it, and embarrassed to have to take medication for it. Each day I had to fight for my life. Even when I did not want to fight and felt like just giving up. I am glad I kept fighting, and I didn't give up! I sought professional help. It wasn't easy, but I found counselors who were a good fit for me. I took my prescribed medication. As I went through my healing process, I learned to call on my network when I needed help. When I became overwhelmed, I called to talk with family and friends. When I needed to lie in a fetal position and cry, I did. I also read my bible, prayed and journaled. In the midst of my journey, I discovered that I enjoyed writing, and I penned these words. They are still very comforting to me to this day.

Wherever you are in this day, week, or month, take a moment to pause in remembrance of the lives lost. Show your support to family and loved ones who lost someone to suicide. Be grateful for those who sought help and are still with us. Pray for those who may be hurting.

If you are experiencing severe emotional or mental difficulty, please call your counselor, medical provider, and/or 911 for immediate help. For information on mental wellness, visit the National Institute of Mental Health

Stay safe, be well, and know that #OVERCOMINGISANACTIONWORD.  Books Worth Reading by Marilyn.


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