Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

For the cause of Suicide Prevention and Awareness, several national and local organizations provide ways for you to help save lives.

To learn more, download this calendar, developed by the Suicide Prevention Council of Roanoke Valley, which is administered by our partners at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare. Our Youth Development Director Karen Pillis serves on the board and she and youth in our Teen Outreach Program are involved in this weekend’s Youth Summit to give young people ways to express themselves in healthy and productive ways.

Monday is National Suicide Prevention Day,  Tuesday is World Suicide Prevention Day, and next week is National Suicide Prevention Week. Being aware of these national and international observances, changing your profile picture, and learning more about how to talk to people about suicide or approach difficult topics with children or loved ones are ways you CAN make a difference.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, the warning signs of someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts include:

  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • Feeling like there is no reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Dramatic mood changes

To hear a first person account of someone who attempted suicide and now seeks to help others, make sure to attend Suicide The Ripple Effect at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at The Grandin Theater. Download the flyer for the event, which will be followed by a talk back.

“Let’s get to that place that nobody is being brave who talks about their brain disease, they’re just being honest,” says Kevin Hines, who jumped off the Golden Gate bridge and survived and now is on a campaign to get people talking about the causes and effects of suicide in our culture.

There are Mental Health First Aid Classes being offered throughout the month, as well as ASIST Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training on Oct. 4 and 5. These teach you what to look for and what to say in the moment when someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. Learn how to be the person who helps prevent the next tragedy.

Finally, participate in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Roanoke College on Saturday, Oct. 6. Here you will meet others who know the true life impact of suicide and are committed to saving lives by coming together, sharing their stories and being visible with their grief and hurt.

As with many mental health-related causes, it is difficult to know how you can possibly make a difference on such a complex issue as suicide. Anything you do to shed the shame of talking about suicide, reach out to others who may be hurting, and support local organizations involved in prevention and treatment truly restores hope for people questioning their ability to survive.

You are saving lives. Join the local Suicide Prevention Awareness efforts in your community!