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Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States?

Did you know that every day approximately 123 Americans die by suicide?

Did you know only half of Americans who experience a major depressive episode receive treatment?

These statistics are from the website Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and I wanted to share them with you because September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This is something that I think is SO important to talk about, as well as mental health. It is important that we educate ourselves about how to prevent suicide and know the steps and actions we can take to do so. 

#BeThe1To is the powerful message that is sent for National Suicide Prevention Month. This hashtag helps spread the word about actions people can take to prevent suicide. These actions I am about to talk about can seem so small, yet make the biggest impact and can potentially save someone's life. Some things you can do include the following:

  1. Be there! Research has shown that people feel less depressed, suicidal, and overwhelmed if they can talk to someone that will listen and never judge.

  2. Help them stay connected! To reduce feelings of hopelessness, create a network of resources and people for support and show them they are not alone.

  3. Follow up! Make sure you check in on your friends and family and always follow up even if they seem okay. We never know what someone is going through, and a simple checkup can mean the world to them.

Some other ways you can get involved is to volunteer, donate, and build safer digital communities. The most two important ones I think are to get involved is to share your story of hope and to have the conversation. One thing I think our society looks down upon is mental health, and I think it is time to normalize it. I know that sharing your story can be really scary and nerve-wracking, but it can truly make a difference and help people feel less alone (If you are considering sharing your story of hope, you can view the checklist guidelines to get you started and know what to expect.) Also, never be afraid to have a conversation about how you are feeling. Medication and therapy are also things that I think need to be normalized, and we need to realize how important it is! Never be afraid to talk about how you are feeling or reaching out for help. I know it can seem like a weak thing to ask for help, but it is one of the bravest things you could ever do for yourself.

Another great thing to do is to help spread awareness by posting on your social media. The amount of Instagram stories I saw on September 10th for Suicide Prevention Day was unreal. It made me really happy to see people raising awareness about such an important topic. If you ever have any questions about what you can do to help raise awareness about suicide prevention is a great website to go to. You can learn a lot more than what I talked about in this article and if you EVER need help or knows someone who needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Mackie Kelleher

Illinois State '21

Mackie Kelleher is a sophomore at Illinois State and is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Writing. In her free time, she loves to watch Netflix, read, and work out. She is a huge Starbucks lover and you can always find her there studying!
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