5 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Suicide
It’s suicide prevention awareness month… what does that mean?
The number of deaths by suicide have surpassed the amount of car-related deaths; we simply cannot ignore it anymore. Just as we were required to start wearing seat belts to prevent car deaths, combatting this horrific trend will also have some requirements.
Here are 5 things you can do as a start:
1. Recognize that everyone you know has a problem you don’t know about – It’s true. Every single person on this planet goes to bed mad or sad or frustrated or scared. There is not a single soul alive that doesn’t need to be lifted up and encouraged and cared for. Loved and comforted. Especially in this divisive, fast paced, technology laden world we are living in. We simply are all hurting. Some more than others. Some WAY more than others. But no one escapes hurt.
2. Think Small– If you find that you are spending most of your time connecting for likes…editing your pictures and words for maximum personal likability; try spending more of your time doing the opposite. Connecting one to one. Not for the world to see….
Look for and remember people you know who are going through a rough time. You know they are out there. The ones that you feel sorry for when you hear their story. The ones you give a sad face emoji to on Facebook. The ones that you can’t imagine dealing with what they are dealing with. The friend who just lost a brother, or a job. The relative who had a stroke or was diagnosed with cancer. The student who has downcast eyes, struggling to get through each day. Check in with them. And do it again and again. Care for them with no expectations. They will appreciate it. Of that you can be sure.
3. Recognize it’s awkward – When faced with someone going through a rough time, many will simply ignore the person because they don’t know what to say. Or assume that they are ok because they are not talking about it and maybe it’s just easier to ignore it. Right? But what do you do when you know it’s not ok to do nothing, but you just don’t know what to do because it feels so uncomfortable to reach out? Let’s first recognize that it’s awkward. Because it is. And that’s ok. But it shouldn’t stop us from caring and helping and loving and comforting. Because there are things that can be done to break through the awkward. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention currently has a campaign called “Seize the Awkward”. In our Inspiring Comfort programs, we teach how to break through the “Awkward Zone™️”.
Awkward is a thing… but that’s all it is. It’s a feeling and you can work through it.
4. Reach Out– We all just need to do the work. The hard-awkward work of connecting with those who are struggling. Do something personal. One to one. Send a text, leave a note, call them, seek them out at work or school or in your community. Bring them flowers or their favorite coffee. Help them with homework or invite them over. Whatever it takes. And do it often. There is a massive loneliness epidemic out there. People all around us are feeling misunderstood… alone and isolated. They need you and you need them.
5. Get Involved– Sign up and help with your local community suicide prevention efforts. Check out the websites of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology, amongst many others. Create your own event. Help fundraise and volunteer at their events. Or check out our Inspiring Comfort programs to learn how to break through the Awkward Zone and better comfort people one to one.
We live in a world that is increasingly turning to suicide as a way out of pain. Pain that can be lessened if they know someone cares. So, activate that big heart of yours… you know it’s there. You’ll never know the difference you can make until you get out there and do something. And if we each do our part, if we each “put on our seat belt” so to speak, we can reverse this trend.
Let’s do the work.
Comfort on my friends, comfort on. 💜
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-8255.
Jen Marr is Founder & CEO of Inspiring Comfort LLC. Learn more about how you can comfort better at www.inspiringcomfort.com