September is Suicide prevention month bringing awareness to the issue might save a life. We have all met with challenges over our lifetime. Previously, I was in the public school system and sadly there are many children that suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions they feel they cannot overcome. This issue is not just with youth but can make its way up to all ages. There is a stigma one can be tagged with when people think of mental health disorders. This is a stigma we need to work to reduce in order that those needing help are able and willing to reach out. Raising awareness to seek help may prevent a needless loss of life. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
On the Florida Health website http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/suicide-prevention/index.html the statistics of those losing their life to suicide shows it affects all ages. Suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death in ages 10-34, it is the fourth leading cause of death in ages 34- 44, and the fifth leading cause of death in persons the age of 45 -54. Additionally, a person’s race, ethnicity, occupation, and age may increase the potential for a higher rate of attempted suicide.
Often suicide is often preventable. Knowing warning signs and potential behavioral changes may save a love one’s life, a colleague at work, and potentially someone you just cross paths within a normal day. There are three areas these signs may fall into according to the National Institute Health (NIH) (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/warning-signs-of-suicide ). 1. Talking about: Wanting to die, feeling guilty or a shame at an extreme level, or being a burden on another person. 2. Feeling: Empty, hopeless, trapped or having no reason to live, extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage, and unbearable or emotional or physical pain. 3. Changing behavior: Withdrawing from friends, giving away important items, researching ways to die, using drugs or alcohol more frequently, making a plan, saying goodbye. Making individuals aware of these signs is important in preventing this tragedy from occurring or at the very least reducing the numbers affected by suicide.
What can you do to help someone that is suicidal? Show them you care, talk to them about potential resources to help them cope. Many individuals are afraid to ask someone if they think they are suicidal – don’t be afraid to ask! According to the Founder and Executive Director of Suicide.org, Kevin Caruso “if you are suicidal, you probably are suffering from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, postpartum depression, PTSD, or something similar. If you have something along these lines, you actually have a chemical imbalance in your brain — and you cannot possibly think straight because of it. That is beyond your control. You are not weak. You just need some treatment. This imbalance can occur for several reasons, from genetics to a traumatic life experience, and it is extremely common for people to have this imbalance, so do not feel like you are alone. You are not.”
The more individuals learn and practice self-care strategies the better the chance of reducing the number of affected by suicide. Some strategies include creating an atmosphere of support and learning to cope with emotional skills, modeling good behavior and cultivating mental health. Awareness and talking about suicide have the power to save lives. There are multiple resources to address potential signs, methods to reduce suicide, and organizations to support those affected by suicide. Take this time and opportunity to review these resources and MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of others. https://afsp.org/ is the web site for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. Always.”
– Collaborative Learning Solutions
 “Resources for Suicide Prevention.” Collaborative Learning Solutions, Collaborative Learning Solutions, clsteam.net/info/resources-for-suicide-prevention. Accessed 14 Sept. 2021. Resources for Suicide Prevention (clsteam.net)
 “Suicide Prevention | Florida Department of Health.” Florida Health, Florida Health Across the State, 10 Aug. 2021, www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/prevention/suicide-prevention/index.html.
 “NIMH » Warning Signs of Suicide.” National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/warning-signs-of-suicide. Accessed 14 Sept. 2021