A Global Priority: World Suicide Prevention Day

Capriccia Thomas, Health Editor

Although difficult to talk about, it’s important that we have an open dialogue to discuss

The 19th annual World Suicide Prevention Day will take place on Sept. 10. This day is a reminder that we all play a role in looking after our neighbors. Each one, reach one to lift up our neighbor.

This past year, the subject of mental health soared to one of the most pressing matters following the ramifications of social distancing, quarantine, isolation, financial strain, and other restrictions. According to the New York Times, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased depression, anxiety, and substance use. Despite the increase, the number of suicides dropped by 5%.

It’s important to remember that we are all in this together. Suicide prevention is a global conversation aimed at highlighting the essence of working together to preclude suicide.

The stigma around mental health has to be shattered to create safe spaces for everyone to be open and honest about their mental welfare. As a hot and trending topic, self-care has opened the door for many people to find happiness, reasons to smile, and explore new and old hobbies. Self-care isn’t the same for everyone. Some find healing and peace after a nice day at the spa and others find solace in seeking help from a therapist or speaking with family and/or friends.

“Self-awareness and being open to help are two important steps to taking care of one’s mental health. We are so often too busy and overworked that we don’t make space to check in with ourselves. If we recognize that we are suffering, the next step is being vulnerable and open to getting help/support from a friend, family member, classmate, colleague, mentor, neighbor or mental health professional,” Kathryn Kirkpatrick stated, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a counselor at the Student Health & Counseling Services (SHCS) at California State University, East Bay.

Mantras, positive affirmation, and other self-care practices can stimulate a positive state of being. It cultivates a form of self-care that stimulates the mind through words, sounds that can affect our perception and set of circumstances in an optimistic way.

We can look after one another by understanding the risk factors, warning signs, and learning about the resources available to intervene when someone is in crisis. “For World Suicide Prevention Day I hope that those who are suffering can find one person in their life and take that step to speak out and share how they are feeling. No one should have to suffer alone,” Kirkpatrick continued.

CSUEB’s SHCS offers Suicide Prevention training called: I Can Help. The training provides students, staff, and faculty strategies to prevent suicide both on a systemic and personal level. Additionally, CSUEB provides a 24-hour crisis line: Protocall. Students can call 510-885-3735 (dial option 2) to speak with a trained crisis counselor.

Taking care of one’s mental health is a pivotal component of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It is imperative that we unite to de-stigmatize mental health, suicide, and getting help. There are a plethora of resources that provide help and support. The Alameda County Crisis Support Services provides people in need with care. For more information, click here.

Practicing mindfulness, meditation, and self-care is vital within our daily routines. Looking in the mirror and speaking positive affirmations over yourself, such as: “I am worthy. I deserve to be happy” can create a huge difference in one’s positive outlook on life.

Cater the affirmations to fit your own individuality. Always remember, you are not alone. We all have a role to play. Let’s each do our part in being a steward for our neighbors.

If you are contemplating suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. The National Suicide Prevention line is available by calling 1-800-273-8255.