Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: We All Have a Part When it Comes to Suicide Prevention and Mental Health

By  //  September 22, 2020

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Health first Licensed Clinical Social Worker Toni Stephens: Suicide prevention starts with reaching out and asking for help

We know that every year, thousands of Americans die by suicide and leave our hearts shattered. Some of them being people who we cherish and love – our friends, family and even colleagues. And suicide shows zero favoritism. It impacts all races and genders and could happen at any given moment.

“Suicide prevention starts with reaching out and asking for help,” said Toni Stephens, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Health First’s Senior Behavioral Wellness Intensive Outpatient program.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – We know that every year, thousands of Americans die by suicide and leave our hearts shattered.

Some of them being people who we cherish and love – our friends, family and even colleagues. And suicide shows zero favoritism. It impacts all races and genders and could happen at any given moment.

With September being Suicide Prevention Awareness month, it’s important that we all bring attention and awareness to this important issue.

“Suicide prevention starts with reaching out and asking for help,” said Toni Stephens, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with Health First’s Senior Behavioral Wellness Intensive Outpatient program.

However, not everyone speaks up when they’re in dire need of help. Sometimes, it’s all about learning how to recognize and respond to warning signs that could help save lives.

“Trust your initial instincts – if someone has mood swings, is giving away prized possessions, saying goodbye, feeling hopeless about life and putting affairs in order, it means something is wrong and should be addressed immediately,” Stephens said. “Being aware of these warning signs could ultimately reduce suicide attempts and deaths.”

Suicide factors can be a range of life stressors, and COVID-19 isn’t helping either. The impact of the public health crisis contributing to increased suicide rates can be due to isolation, hopelessness, fears (economy, contagion virus, future), anxiety and grief/loss (COVID-19 survivors and families).

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And it’s true – we all play a role in helping someone we love who might be suicidal. Simply asking, “Are you having thoughts of hurting or killing yourself?” can make a huge difference. Talking about suicide in an open and concerned environment can help those who need suicide services. If you are aware and notice the warning signs, encourage them to get help and play a role in helping them find the available resources within their community.

“It truly takes a team effort, however, keep in mind that if you provide help to someone who is suicidal, you are not responsible for preventing someone from taking their life,” Stephens said. “We can only help so much and encourage them to seek the urgent treatment they need.”

Suicidal issues are real, frequent and manageable, especially in the COVID-19 era we’re currently experiencing. But you don’t have to battle the journey alone – we’re here to help.

If you are worried about a loved one or friend, or you’re thinking about suicide and would like emotional support, Health First’s COVID-19 Stress Support Line is available to the community free of charge, seven days a week – 321.434.7700.

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