Each time a person takes their own life, others wonder if there is something they could have done to prevent it. Could a kind word from a stranger have kept that person alive one more day? Could an offering of friendship have prevented that person from feeling like they didn’t deserve to exist? There are no easy answers, but every year, September is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Month. This allows survivors, health professionals, and the community to combine their efforts and raise awareness. Sometimes all it takes is letting that person know you care, and they will find the will to persevere and go on living.
It’s Never Simple, Not Even During National Suicide Prevention Month
Of course, life is never that simple. The person who considers peace in combination with an untimely death is in a dark place. They might be suffering the ill effects of substance abuse possibly caused by another mental health condition. They have lost close relationships, sometimes for good reason. And there’s no going back. When things seem that bleak, a future doesn’t sound like a positive concept.
Often, the greatest thing a person can offer to someone who has no hope is a listening ear. They don’t need to hear solutions or advice. They need someone to hear their problems and their story. However, they need someone to care. This is why suicide prevention hotlines have been so effective. Call centers have received millions of calls from people in distress who fear they might be suicidal. And talking helps.
Talking to someone who listens can help for many reasons. It validates the person’s negative experience by having that person be empathetic and non-judgemental. It creates a shared experience when discussed in a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other support groups. Ultimately, it shows the person that they are not alone, and that is analogous to the biggest hug anyone could ever offer. Make an extra effort during National Suicide Prevention Month.
People who have a mental illness or substance abuse disorder often have both. This is because substance abuse leads to a mental health problem, or the mental health problem leads to substance abuse. This is called a dual diagnosis, and people who have dual diagnoses are at a higher risk for suicide.
Cessation of the substance is integral in treatment for a dual diagnosis situation, but treatment is more effective if the co-occurring mental health condition is treated as well. This might involve medication, therapy, or participation in support groups.
Preventing Suicide With Addiction Treatment
While addictive substances are often sought for relief from negative situations, they only cause more problems for the person who is experiencing addiction. The addiction and the negative situation possibly coupled with a dual diagnosis creates a downward spiral. It is one from which there is no escape without proper help, and regretfully, some people resort to suicide if they don’t get help.
That is why seeking out treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders is an essential part of suicide prevention. It helps a person to get treatment at the source of the problem, so they can heal and create a foundation for future success.
What You Can Do for National Suicide Prevention Month?
Each person can play an important part in National Suicide Prevention Month. Every person saved by the kind words or support of another makes the entire effort worthwhile be it one person or one thousand. For a healthy individual who has the capacity, listening and being kind is a good start. Volunteering at a crisis center is another way that you can directly have a positive impact on those who are in crisis. For the person who is in crisis or those who care about them, please seek treatment. There are people that can help you see that there are many reasons to live another day. They can help you see that you do have a future, and you can find happiness and hope in that future.
Fairwinds Treatment Center is a dually licensed treatment facility specializing in the treatment of substance abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, eating disorders, and co-occurring mental health disorders. Contact our facility if you are in crisis or interested in seeking addiction treatment for a loved one.