Suicide Prevention Month: How to Spread Awareness Safely and Respectfully

Sarah Wicker, Staff Writer/ Funny Person

For those who may not know, September is Suicide Prevention Month, and many people have been spreading awareness through different forms of social media.

 

Students Maddy Bergman (12) and Charlotte James (10) shared their own mental health experiences and their thoughts about Suicide Prevention Month.

 

“Bullying, peer pressure, and stressors from school have made a major impact on my mental health,” James said.

 

Spreading awareness can be very effective to people who are struggling, but sometimes it could be doing more harm than good. 

 

“Talking about suicide can be very triggering. When opening the conversation you have to be very cautious. Be careful what you post and what you say,” Bergman said.

 

Mrs. Buhr, the teacher moderator of the Outreach Club, told all about the club and their main focus on mental health.

 

Our goal is to adequately bring light to mental health issues at Dowling so that students can effectively bring change to our school climate and culture. Our goal is to also help students navigate school stressors, create meaningful, sustainable climate change, and allow for voice sharing and expression via arts-based coping skills,” Buhr said. 

 

Bergman also mentioned respectful ways to make others more aware of this issue. 

 

“The best is to check up on friends, maybe research signs that someone is struggling. Just try to be there for others, but be sure to be there for yourself too. Awareness starts with yourself.  Love on others but love on yourself,” Bergman said.

 

Buhr promoted more effective ways to prevent suicide even after September ends. 

 

Students can download the ‘There is Hope’ app as a quick reference on the risk factors and warning signs for suicide, as well as tips on how to talk with someone who they may be concerned about.  Students can register for events within our community such as a Mental Health First Aid Course or local suicide awareness walks such as Out of the Darkness.  Students can also use social media as a platform for connecting and networking with others who may be struggling in ways that are similar,” Buhr said. 

So when you’re wanting to spread awareness about this topic through social media, make sure to ask yourself questions like, “Is this safe for everyone to see?” or, “Would this be harmful for people who feel helpless?”

Remember if you are struggling with your mental health, counselors are here for more than just classes and scheduling. The Outreach Club is a great club to feel more comfortable about having a voice. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the country. Please call 1-800-273-8255.