September 5-11, 2021 was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week – by Brandon Weiss
Suicide is one of the leading reasons for premature death in the United States and can be one of the greatest challenges we face in our profession; however, it is preventable. As school employees with an understanding of mental health we are in a unique position to help identify students, staff, and community members who may be struggling with underlying mental health concerns, trauma, environmental stressors, etc. While this week is set aside for the awareness of suicide prevention, suicide is an act that can have a far-reaching, long lasting impact on our communities at any time. What we need to work towards is a broad-based understanding within our society that suicide is a mental health crisis, one that we need to learn to manage and hopefully eradicate through early detection with the provision of appropriate supports addressing the specific needs of all individuals.
In hopes of promoting a better understanding of mental health, I ask you to take the time to reflect on what strategies you use to promote your own mental health and reduce stressors that can contribute to overly negative thoughts. Are some of these strategies appropriate for the work setting and can they be used with individuals who need our support? What procedures or practices can we use to facilitate early detection/support? What resources are available within your community to support individuals at risk? How are we educating others about suicidal ideation and normalizing the need for help?
If you or someone you know is suicidal, you can get help by contacting the following:
- For immediate assistance call 911.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis TEXT Line: text “HOME” to 741741