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Suicide Prevention Month

September. The start of Autumn. The start of staying inside with cozy blankets, hugging your loved ones close, and drinking hot beverages by the fire. September is the epitome of warmth and happiness, but it is also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I will admit that I just became aware of this national holiday recently. It was not until I was scrolling on TikTok that it came to my attention. As I continued to scroll, my mind grew with concern. Video after video, I saw numerous anecdotes of self harm, self sabotage, and other forms of teenagers pleading for help. Even worse, the comment sections were flooded with responses such as, “same lol” and “mood asf.” Depression has become a normalized occurence in this generation and is frequently brushed off.

I could go on for hours about the reasons behind the rise in depression, self harm, and suicide rates. However, the cause is less important when we consider the desperate need to prevent any further increase. So what can we do?

  1. Look out for the warning signs. Decreased appetite. Lack of sleep. Sleeping all the time. Disinterest in previously enjoyed activities. Any unusual change in behavior could possibly indicate depression or suicidal thoughts. Check in on your loved ones frequently.

  2. Be an open listener. The best thing you can do for someone struggling is listen. Let them feel their feelings. Let them cry. Do not judge their situation. By simply listening, you may just save a life.

  3. Don't say “I know how you feel.” Everyone's situation is different and oftentimes you actually do not know how they feel.

  4. Don’t say “It could be worse” or “... has it worse.” These statements invalidate a person’s feelings. What they feel is real, and should not be diminished. This may also lead to a person not reaching out for help in the future.

For more resources on how to help, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

*For immediate call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

And to those who are struggling: Ask for help. You are loved. You are cared about. You belong in this world.

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