Suicide “Awareness” Month

I get mixed feelings around the notion of a month being designated as an Awareness month.  Mental Health Awareness, Suicide Awareness, PTSD Awareness, and so on.  It’s not that Awareness Months are lost on a culture inured to nonstop information binges, it’s that simply being aware of something does not always facilitate change.  Action taking.  Tasks to promote personal involvement in changing the conversation.

We begin by discarding ancient, ridiculous mythology around suicide.

  • Suicide is Selfish or Cowardly.
    • It’s not, ok?
  • Suicide is more likely to occur around the Holidays (winter).
    • Not.
    • Suicide rates are lowest in December.
    • Suicide rates peak in the Spring.
  • Suicide is more prevalent in the African American, Hispanic, and Asian Communities
    • Nope.
    • Among these cultures white males are more likely to complete suicide.
    • American Indians and Alaskan Natives present the highest risk of suicide.
  •  Depression is ALWAYS the cause of suicide.
    • Not quite.
    • Alcoholism is linked to 1 of 3 completed suicides.  Consider the link, however, between Alcoholism and Depression or other Mental Unwellness.
  • Suicide is greater now than it ever was in the past.
    • Not really.
    • Suicide rates over the past number of decades have remained fairly static though some indicators show that they may have slightly decreased.
    • Suicide rates among youth between the ages of 18 and 24 are more than twice as likely to complete suicide compared to 50 years ago.

Now that you have been informed/reinformed about suicide:

The Top 5 Actions That Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Understanding of Suicide

  1. You have discarded ancient myths and stereotypes about suicide.
  1. You are aware if Suicide runs in your family and you talk about it at the dinner table.
  2. You show that you care by speaking openly with loved ones about your concerns.
  3. You listen to feedback from trusted others and you work around your fears and take action.
  4. You take steps to maintain your own mental wellness through check-ups, diet, exercise, and taking action when something you are doing is causing problems in your work, family, and community.

Here is a fact sheet about Suicide.  How about printing it and posting to your refrigerator and starting a conversation at home?

Until next time, be well and be fit.

suicide-datasheet-a

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