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Wellness > Mental Health

A Glimpse into Raising Awareness for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

TW: suicide

While September can be a time for many changes, such as the start of a new school year or a shift in the weather, this time each year is crucial for raising awareness. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a time dedicated to raising awareness about suicide prevention and engaging in conversations about it. The hope is to shift the perspective on this topic, one that is so crucial, yet often uncomfortable, for people to talk about. That uneasiness is exactly why we need to have these conversations and venture out of our comfort zones – to discuss the uncomfortable.

I had planned to write this article for almost a year now thinking the time would be right and that once I’d sit down all my ideas would flow. The reality is, I don’t think there’s ever a “right” time to have these kinds of conversations. The way I struggle to type and figure out what I want to say and share goes to show the engravement and stigmatization surrounding suicide, suicide prevention and mental health. All of these are important topics that would benefit everyone if they were discussed. These conversations are hard. They are uncomfortable. Yet, they can be so rewarding and just might help you save a life or help someone cope with a loss, which is why sharing this vital information is a must.

So …let’s get into it!


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is highlighting the Together for Mental Health campaign, “which encourages people to bring their voices together to advocate for better mental health care, including an effective crisis response system” which will establish a common understanding of the need for raising awareness about mental health and conversations surrounding suicide.

Colors for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Often awareness months have unique specialized colors for the ribbon to signify meaning. For September, purple and turquoise on the Suicide Prevention Ribbon symbolize suicide awareness and prevention. The colors and ribbon serve as a reminder that suicide is a subject we need to talk about.

Fast Facts

  • 79% of all people who die by suicide are male.
  • Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are 4x more likely to die by suicide.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–14 and the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 15-24 in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
  • 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition. Research shows that 90% may have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for people held in local jails.

**Data from NAMI website, with credits to the CDC, NIMH and other select sources.

How can I show support and raise awareness?

  1. Ask how other people are feeling

Check-in on your friends and family. Ask them how they are doing. Lend a listening ear. Give supportive advice. You never know what someone might be going through which is why it’s so important to do your best to be a supportive, caring friend at all times. Mental illness is often an invisible struggle until it’s too late.

2. Spread awareness

This may include posting on your Instagram story or wearing purple and turquoise colors in September. Do your best to support and raise awareness this month in whatever ways work best for you. Even if it’s something simple such as telling a friend September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Anything to spread the word and get people communicating is beneficial. I am planning on promoting this article on my social media pages and reposting any additional content I find that helps prompt conversation.

3. Show love towards family, friends and strangers

Always try to show your loved ones that you care and love them. It can be difficult at times, especially if you fight with one of your friends or get into an argument after work hours with a parent, but try to always leave off conversations on a positive note. Even in your encounters with strangers, try not to take out any negative inwards feelings on someone else. We all know those people who come into stores and restaurants and take out their emotions on the lovely workers just doing their job – don’t be that person.

While this quote doesn’t exactly fit with the context of this month and time, I find this helps speak volumes about the importance of showing love towards other people.

“We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love.” – Mother Teresa, A Simple Path

Remember: You are loved

Love is so powerful, and it’s the best way we can support each other. Don’t underestimate the power of reminding those around you how much you appreciate having them in your life. A simple compliment, reminder or even a smile can go a long way.

Lastly, to all those who have left us, know that your love and legacy live on. Please know that there is always someone who loves you and someone to talk to. There are resources available, and I hope this article reiterates that you do not have to go through anything alone.

Illinois State Student Counseling Services (309) 438-3655 https://counseling.illinoisstate.edu/

ISU Live Well with Eight at State Program (309) 438-9355 https://wellness.illinoisstate. edu/live-well/

If YOU OR someone you know is struggling, help is ALWAYS available. You can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

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Lynn Merigold

Illinois State '23

Lynn graduated from Illinois State University, where she was a contributing writer, chapter editor/president, and member of the Campus Trendsetters community. When she’s not teaching, you can find her spending time with family/friends, attending a fitness class, or listening to an audiobook!