How to Support Others During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The following article discusses sensitive topics related to mental health and suicide. Reader discretion is advised, as this content may be triggering to some individuals. If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek appropriate professional help or reach out to a helpline.


Women holding in each other's hand and supporting one another

Suicide prevention awareness month is important to observe (Source: Shutterstock)

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. During those thirty days, a sobering spotlight is turned on what we can each do to curb the plague of suicide. With an emphasis on understanding, empathy, and assistance, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month encourages community and individual power to foster a supportive environment, raise awareness, and save lives. In this article, we explore how lending a hand, lending an ear, and encouraging an atmosphere of empathy may all make a difference.

The Plague of Suicide

Over the past year, I have struggled immensely with my mental health, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts/not wanting to continue. There are a lot of people struggling with suicidal thoughts all around the world. This depressing reality emphasizes how urgent the continuous dialogue about mental health and suicide prevention is. Examining the figures, causes, and growing significance of this issue is more than just a study of numbers; it’s a heartfelt recognition of the difficulties people confront and a plea for developing a more understanding society.

The statistics on suicide are tragic and startling. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 700,000 people worldwide commit suicide yearly, making it the world’s biggest cause of death. This indicates that one life is lost to suicide every forty seconds.

There are many more people who have thought about suicide than there are people who have actually committed suicide, producing a huge undercurrent of silent misery. A variety of intricate and complicated circumstances influence suicidal thoughts. Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and bipolar illness can greatly impact. When these disorders are not addressed or supported, emotions of hopelessness and despair may worsen.

External variables that can exacerbate suicidal ideation include cultural pressures, loneliness, interpersonal issues, financial difficulties, and traumatic events.

A gratifying trend is that around the world, people are starting to realize how vital it is to end the stigma attached to mental health problems. This paradigm shift is essential because people are more inclined to seek support and assistance when stigma is lessened, and dialogues are open.

About Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Every September, people around the world recognize Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in an effort to address the urgent need for greater knowledge and understanding of suicide, problems with mental health, and the need to offer support.

Typical initiatives include:

  • Awareness Walks and Races: To promote awareness of and raise money for suicide prevention organizations, several communities hold walks or races. These occasions allow participants to demonstrate their support and offer a platform for lobbying.
  • Educational Workshops and Seminars: Mental health organizations, educational institutions, and community centers frequently host workshops and seminars to disseminate crucial knowledge on identifying the warning signs of suicidal ideation, providing support, and linking people with accessible resources.
  • Exhibitions and Performances of Art: Using art as a tool to communicate feelings and raise awareness may be quite effective. Performances focusing on mental health and suicide prevention promote dialogue and destigmatization.
  • Social Media Campaigns: To reach a larger audience and promote open dialogues, businesses and individuals frequently share educational materials, autobiographies, and resources online.
  • Candlelight Vigils and Remembrance Events: In honor of the lives lost to suicide, numerous communities host candlelight vigils and commemorative gatherings. These gatherings give survivors and allies a place to reflect, offer support, and show unity. Resources are provided in schools, workplaces, and community centers. 

Signs of Suicide

  • Talking About Death
  • Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
  • Talking about great shame or guilt
  • Expressing Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal
  • Drastic Mood Swings
  • Giving Away Belongings
  • Reckless Behavior
  • Saying Goodbye
  • Sudden Calmness
  • Loss of Interest
  • Change in Sleep and Eating Patterns
  • Making Final Arrangements

If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone else, it’s essential to take them seriously and seek help immediately.

Where to Find Support

Black couple hugging during suicide prevention awareness month

A support system can be helpful for someone struggling during suicide prevention awareness month (Source: Shutterstock)

If you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to reach out for help. The following avenues are available:

  1. Reach Out to a Reliable Person: Talk about your emotions with a friend, family member, or a work colleague you trust. Speaking openly about your difficulties can make you feel relieved and less alone.
  2. Counseling and Therapy: Seeking the advice of therapists, counselors, or psychologists can be a helpful way to learn how to control your thoughts and emotions. Numerous specialists in mental health provide in-person and online consultations. Your therapist or psychiatrist might even advise thinking about starting medication. This can be a scary process. I was scared right before starting my medication, but I had the help of medical professionals who eased my mind and were very thorough in explaining the process and figuring out what medicine would be best for me to try.
  3. Support Groups: Joining a support group, whether in person or online, can help you find people who share your experiences and provide a safe place to talk about them.

Suicide Prevention Hotline

A crucial tool for people in need is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). The hotline, which is open around the clock, provides immediate help, private chats, and direction for people who are contemplating suicide or are in emotional pain. Callers are connected to nearby resources, therapists, and mental health services by trained individuals who offer sympathetic support. Help is just a phone call away if you or someone you know is hurting, so don’t be afraid to seek it.

How to Be a Good Support

  • Listening Without Judgement: Sometimes, someone needs a sympathetic ear. Offer your time and attention, and unless requested, refrain from providing advice or solutions.
  • Self-Education: Learn about mental health, the warning signs of suicidal ideation, and how to offer assistance. This will help you respond sensitively and correctly.
  • Regular Check-Ins: Send your friends and family a message to let them know you’re thinking of them on a regular basis. A consistent link can significantly alter a situation. 
  • Dancing: Playing music and letting loose while moving to it can be a fun way to release tension and stress. Self-expression and physical mobility are encouraged by dancing.
  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Show the person how to do deep breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 technique or diaphragmatic breathing. These exercises can aid in calming down and reducing anxiety.
  • Journaling: Encourage the person to record their thoughts and feelings in a notebook. This is a way to get their feelings out and for you to better understand what’s going on in their head. 


Let’s work together to spread the word about suicide prevention during September. We can eradicate mental health stigma by promoting open communication, providing assistance, and encouraging understanding. We can also build a compassionate society where no one feels isolated in their struggle. Remember that the first step toward healing is spreading kindness and hope to ourselves and others. Let this month serve as a springboard for year-round campaigning to ensure that every life is valued and that the discourse about mental health is unwavering.