Taking action for Suicide Prevention Month

Kate Alexander, Staff Writer

Mental illness is not new to the world but has just recently been introduced to the media. Covid-19 is a big factor in what caused the world to elaborate on the importance of taking care of mental health. 

Mental illness is more common than many might think. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 1 in 7 high school students suffer from mental illness and half go untreated. Between 20%-30% of adolescents struggle with depression, and 9% have attempted suicide. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or background. Mental health organizations try to educate people on mental disorders and make resources available to help those in need. September is known as Suicide Prevention Month in order to help these mental health organizations bring awareness to suicide prevention. 

One of the many ways organizations are trying to bring sucide prevention to life is through social media. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline created the hashtag “#BeThe1To” to help spread suicide awareness across social media. The hashtag has 5 parts. “#BeThe1To Ask,” “#BeThe1To Be There,” “#BeThe1To Keep Them Safe,” “#BeThe1To Help Them Stay Connected,” and “#BeThe1To Follow Up.” Each part of the hashtag gives advice on how to help if someone seems like they are in need of help. 

The first part of “#BeThe1To,” “#BeThe1To Ask,” encourages everyone to not be afraid to ask a loved one or a peer tough questions regarding mental health and safety. Research shows that those suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts feel a sense of relief when someone takes the time to ask them about their struggles.

“#BeThe1To Be There” explains that those with suicidal thoughts are more likely to feel hopeful when they have someone listening to them without judgement and with empathy.

“#BeThe1To Keep Them Safe” is a very important part of the process. This part of the hashtag suggests that those with suicidal thoughts should be separated from what can hurt them.

The next part of the hashtag, “#BeThe1To Help Them Stay Connected”  is about creating a support system. A strong and connected support system can help to reduce the sense of loneliness someone suffering with a severe mental illness might feel.

Lastly, “#BeThe1To Follow Up” enforces the importance of keeping a consistent contact with someone struggling, especially if they have recently been discharged from a hospital or care service.

These hashtags are just a few of the actions that can be taken to help a loved one, classmate, or teammate in need.

Mental health is a serious topic which is why in September mental health organizations, like The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, work so hard to educate people about mental health and its extreme consequences.