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Suicide Awareness: More than thoughts are needed for the year

Jessie Garrison
Head Copy Editor
Associate Opinion Editor

World Suicide Prevention Day, also referred to as Suicide Awareness Day, occurs every year on Sept. 10. This day comes early in Suicide Awareness Month, which is every September. For the week leading up to the day, there is an influx of mental health awareness posts on social media. From people telling their own personal stories to those who have lost a loved one, it seems as if mental health is the most important topic in everyone’s lives. 

While social media posts preaching mental health awareness and telling stories about those lost to suicide are important, do we forget about those affected by mental illness the other 364 days a year? Throughout the year, there are many posts/discussions on mental illness—not of them positive. For example, when there is a school or mass shooting the first group to be blamed is those affected by mental illness.

Additionally, how often do those who are not affected by mental illness check on those who are affected? It seems as if many of those who do promote mental health awareness on Suicide Awareness day keep quiet on the issue the other 364 days. 

What would happen to those affected by mental illness if social media kept the same energy every day as it does the week leading up to Suicide Awareness day?

For starters, I think we would create a world where there is a lot less negative stigma towards those with mental illness. Right now, we live in a society where people with mental illnesses are often looked down upon- upon—claimed to be weak and lazy. On the contrary, mental illness comes in all shapes and sizes; and none of those affected are weak or lazy. 

Additionally, raising awareness more often would create more environments for those to talk about their struggles. Having an increase in environments for people to talk about their struggles with mental health, much like any other illness, can potentially decrease the feeling of isolation and loneliness which those affected sometimes face. 

When people affected by mental illness begin to feel accepted and less isolated then maybe we can reduce the number of people we lose to suicide.