For each month of the year there’s a ribbon to spread awareness about various happenings in our lives as humans. There are ribbons to show that someone we love is overseas fighting in a war, there are ribbons that represent our political affiliations and most notably there are ribbons to raise awareness about various health ailments that affect us. One of September’s awareness ribbons is made of turquoise and purple colors, representing Suicide Prevention Awareness.
Sept. 10th is observed as World Suicide Prevention Day and on this day many people went to social networking sites to spread the word about Suicide Prevention and to let others know that there is hope, that suicide does not have to be an option.
One notable social networking site, Facebook, has gone as far as to run a month long PSA on Suicide Prevention. “We have a unique opportunity to give people the tools to respond to calls for help.”, said the company’s chief security officer. They provide said tools by linking their 1.15 billion members to an “infographic” on how to get people the help they need. The social media site also continuously allows for its users to report posts on the website that they may find to be troubling and as a Facebook user, you also have the option to search “suicide” to find resources.
So what are some warning signs to look for in a person in your life who you are concerned about? Some of the more distinguishable signs are if they are mentioning “feelings of hopelessness” and/or are vocally expressing suicidal thoughts, stated SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education). Other signs that might go unrecognized are a fixation with death, a loss of interest in the things they once cared about, saying goodbye to people and making some final arrangements.
Fortunately, an abundance of resources are available to help prevent a suicide. The first step you, as a friend can take, is to calmly and without judgment talk with your friend about your concerns and genuinely listen to how they are feeling. If this is not the route that you would prefer to take or you are struggling with suicidal thoughts yourself, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has different ways for you to re-think suicide. Their website provides users with numbers to call and places to visit if you are found in an emergency situation. AFSP also provides information on who mental health professionals are and what type of help they can provide. If you are apprehensive about receiving mental health treatment, they accommodate you with a link to what the treatment may involve.
In connection to Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Millersville University will be providing students with free depression screening on September 25th. This service can be found at the Counseling Center on the third floor of Lyle Hall. There are two sessions available; the first one will start at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the second will be from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. This strictly confidential treatment does not require any appointment. If you or someone you know is worried about your mental health, this is a great chance to get the help that is deserved.