National Suicide Prevention Week began with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) recognizes the entire month of September as National Suicide Prevention Month, a moment in time, they say, “in which we rally the public to create awareness of this leading cause of death, and inspire more and more people to learn how they can play a role in their communities in helping to save lives.”
This year, AFSP is highlighting their new Talk Away the Dark campaign, created to shed light on suicide via the campaign’s PSA film, personal stories and perspectives, shareable social graphics and other materials. “We can all make a difference by learning the warning signs, knowing the risk factors, and bravely having an open and honest conversation with someone we care about,” notes AFSP.
Suicide prevention is important every day of the year. National Suicide Prevention Month gives us an opportunity to shine a special, encouraging light on this topic that affects us all, and send a clear, hopeful message that help is available, and suicide can be prevented. See below, AFSP’s series of specific actions that offer “a few examples of how we can all get involved and make a potentially lifesaving impact within our local communities.”
—Join your local AFSP chapter. | For the NYC chapter, click here. AFSP’s local chapters form a community of people who lead by example, spreading hope through local programs, activities, and events. Out of the Darkness Walks, taking place in communities everywhere, raise awareness and much-needed funds, strongly sending the message that suicide can be preventable, and that no one is alone.
—Advocate for support for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, and other mental health policies that will make a difference. | Speak your mind and let your public officials know you’re ready to stand up by becoming a Volunteer Advocate and learning more how we can support issues like funding and support for 988.
—Educate | Bring the Talk Saves Lives program to your school or workplace. Knowledge and understanding deepens conversations. AFSP’s flagship education program is available in specialized modules, including TSL: Latinx and Hispanic Communities—which you can bring to your community for National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15).
—Attend an International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event | Those who have lost a loved one to suicide often feel hesitant to tell others. September is a great time to spread the word about the hundreds of local and virtual “Survivor Day” events taking place November 18—including Día de Esperanza (Day of Hope) for the Hispanic community November 17—enabling survivors of suicide loss to come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience.
—Connect people to help through the Interactive Screening Program (ISP) | Even when people know about available mental health services, shame, fear, and embarrassment often prevent them from seeking help. ISP is a customized platform that starts a confidential conversation that often leads people to support. Learn how to bring ISP to your own school or organization.
About the AFSP New York City Chapter | The grassroots work we do focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by: delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.
As a part of AFSP’s growing nationwide network of chapters, we bring together people from all backgrounds who want to prevent suicide in our communities. Families and friends who have lost someone to suicide, vulnerable individuals, mental health professionals, clergy, educators, students, community/business leaders, and many others energize our chapter.
The AFSP New York City Chapter offers many community programs for suicide prevention to individuals, organizations, and employers across the city. If you – or the group that you represent – is interested in hosting a presentation, educational program, or professional training, please complete our Program Request Form.
Are you participating in an upcoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk? Help promote the event by sharing event flyers and AFSP resources! Please complete our NYC Community Walk Materials Request Form. We ship everything free of charge!
—Compiled for CCNews by Scott Stiffler, based on material from the AFSP website
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