September is National Suicide Prevention Month. It is a month designated to promote the awareness and prevention of suicide. There is also a National Suicide Prevention Week September 6 – 12, and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. Organizations raise money and provide information guides on signs of suicide. Others will promote ask-for-help campaigns. Memorials are held and stories are shared. All in hopes of raising awareness of the impact of suicide, providing education on suicide, and reducing the numbers of suicide overall.
The messages are ones of hope, fear, and grief. Hope that suicide numbers will decrease, that more resources will be available to those in need, and that a loved one is remembered and honored. Fear for the potential suicide of a loved one who struggles and wanting to save them. Grief over the loss of a loved one to suicide and a life that once was. Those who have lost a loved one to suicide will often describe life as before and after.
Having a month dedicated to raising awareness is effective in raising awareness of the impact of suicide on everyone, regardless of their relationship to, attitudes, and beliefs about suicide.
Looking at suicide as a society leads to prevention programs, trainings in interventions, more resources for those struggling with thoughts or loss. Looking at suicide individually makes room for acknowledging the great emotional impact it has on those who suffer. Understanding the individual impact of suicide can help in understanding the experience of suicide.
Over the years, the voice of those who have lived experience with suicide has become stronger. Those with lived experience are either struggling with thoughts, plans or intent, or have attempted suicide and lived through that experience. Their voice has been valuable beyond measure to the messaging and understanding of suicide.
For those who have not struggled with thoughts of suicide, the idea of ending one’s own life can seem unimaginable; selfish even. For those who do or have struggled with thoughts of suicide, the idea of living can feel unimaginable.
For those who have lost a loved one to suicide, the pain is deep. The loss is filled with many emotions like sadness, longing, grief, anger, devastation, sorrow, relief, helplessness, hopelessness, confusion. There is no wrong way to feel about the loss of someone to suicide.
The way someone talks about their feelings about losing someone has a ripple effect and impacts not only those who have experienced a loss but also, those who struggle with thoughts of suicide. They can fill someone who struggles with sorrow, shame, guilt, anger, hopelessness, clarity, confusion, hurt, feelings of despair and misunderstanding, connection and hope.
There is no wrong way to feel about suicide as a person who struggles either. And the way one speaks about their thoughts and experience also impacts other’s and can provide understanding, fear, hope, hopelessness, sadness, frustration, clarity, confusion among many others.
Suicide elicits many feelings from those impacted directly through experience or loss to those who have thoughts or wonderings about suicide with no direct connection to suicide.
September has become the month when a light is shed on all of these experiences in the hopes that lives will be saved, understanding and connection will be made, and awareness and curiosity may lead to more help for those who need help living with the pain or loss of suicide. For those who have experienced suicide directly, this uninvited journey takes place every day throughout the year for many years.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, have lost someone to suicide, or support someone who struggles, receiving support and care can be very important to your health.
Support can look different for everyone. Some like to meet in groups to talk about their shared experience in loss or struggle with suicide, some engage in advocacy, some find therapy helpful – either individually or as a family or couple, some find reading and listening to podcasts helpful. Whatever it might be, finding support that you connect with can make this journey less lonely.
If you or someone you love is in need of immediate support, visit a walk-in-clinic or nearest emergency room, or call the Colorado Crisis Services to speak with a support specialist at 1-844-493-8255.
Individual and Family Therapy
If support through therapy is something you are curious about, our clinicians at Denver Metro Counseling are here to answer questions about this journey and invite you to reach out for more information and resources. We will connect you with other resources for therapeutic support if we are not able to meet your needs.
Local Support Groups
Other Supports and Resources
If you would like to engage in activities during National Suicide Prevention Month and are curious about what you can do to help impact this cause there are several resources available to you locally and nationally OR are interested in resources and community: