September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and Fact Not Fiction wants to help in raising awareness of suicide prevention in Mississippi. Fact Not Fiction cares about suicide prevention awareness because we care about giving important health information to teens, especially information that could possibly save a life. Teens go through so many struggles every day; dealing with things like puberty, sexuality, and growing up in general can be hard. Fact Not Fiction has a mission to connect teens to any resources they need, and make sure that teens are prepared and are equipped to handle whatever life throws at them.
September 10 was National Suicide Prevention Day, a day that — according to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline — is a “time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who it most.”
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek help.
Below we’ve created a list of resources for people who struggle with mental health and thoughts of suicide, including steps to take when you are aware of a loved one struggling.
- Telephone: 1-800-273-8255
- For hearing and speech imparied with TTY equipment: 800-799-4889
- Español: 888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line: Text TWLOHA to 741741
- FIND HELP Online Tool
TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are they trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.
- Telephone: 866-488-7386
- TrevorChat: Online IM with a counselor
- TrevorText: Text START to 678678
- Telephone: 800-799-7233
- Telephone: 800-656-4673
If you are dealing with an emergency or if you are worried that you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, please call your local authorities (911).
How to Help a Friend
#BeThe1To and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration & administered by Vibrant Emotional Health, created a list of steps to take if someone you know may be suicidal.
The Lifeline suggests asking about suicide in a specific way: “Are you thinking about suicide?” Posing the question in this way lets the person know that you aren’t being judgmental. It’s also important to remember to actually listen to what the person tells you, and don’t assume that you know the best way to handle the situation.
“Listening to their reasons for being in such emotional pain, as well as listening for any potential reasons they want to continue to stay alive, are both incredibly important when they are telling you what’s going on. Help them focus on their reasons for living and avoid trying to impose your reasons for them to stay alive.”
2. Keep Them Safe
After initiating the conversation, it’s important to figure out if the person is okay and to establish immediate safety. Talk to them about the extent to which they have thought about suicide in order to assess the danger that the person is in and figure out the best way for you to help.
The Lifeline also emphasizes the importance of asking the person if they have thought about how they would commit suicide, because then you can make sure they do not have access to the means to do so.
3. Be There
Letting the person know that they have a support system behind them is essential. It’s also important to remember that showing support is more than just hanging out with a person; support can look different depending on what the person needs.
Connectedness is very important to people with suicidal thoughts because it helps them lessen the feelings of isolation. Connectedness is also said to be “a protective factor in terms of the escalation of thoughts of suicide to action.”
4. Help Them Connect
It’s important to remember in situations like these that you are NOT a mental health professional. It’s not your job to fix them; you can’t put that much pressure on yourself. Your job is to help them find the resources they need to get better. Let them know there are supports out there like the crisis lines listed above that can give them a safety net if need be. Helping them find local support and getting them in touch with a mental health professional is also extremely beneficial.
5. Follow Up
After you’ve done these steps and have connected the person to a mental health professional, remember to check up on them every once in a while. Being there for a person doesn’t automatically end when you’ve completed the steps. This ongoing support helps the person to continue to feel more connected.
Learn more about each step here.