The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
We can all help prevent suicide. Every year, NAMI and other mental health organizations and individuals across the U.S. and around the world raise awareness of suicide prevention during September, National Suicide Prevention Month.
Suicides in the U.S. reached all-time high in 2022, CDC data shows. About 49,449 people took their own lives last year, an estimated 3% increase compared to 2021 and is on rise this year. As more data comes in this year, on average, that means at the end of calendar year 2023 there will be one suicide death in the US every 10.9 minutes.
Suicides in adults ages 25 to 44 grew about 1%. The new data indicates that suicide became the second leading cause of death in that age group in 2022, up from No. 4 in 2021. Based on these statistics, someone out there may be contemplating suicide, possibly at this very moment. When an individual considers suicide, it may not be that they want to end their life, but instead may want to end the pain they’re currently in. Not knowing how to end this pain can feel like an insurmountable roadblock. When encountering a barrier like this, we may think we need to leap over it in a single stride, or find THE solution to our problems. No doubt that can seem impossible. And if that’s what living looks like, impossible, then one may start to think that dying is their only other option.
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”― Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Stress is certainly a normal part of our lives, and can be an important catalyst of growth and performance. At times however, our stressors can seem to overwhelm our ability to manage them. If we can be more aware of the common signs of poor stress management, then conquering our stressors may become a little bit more manageable. When stress feels overwhelming, it can impact us physically, mentally, and socially. Physically, we may notice disruption to our sleep patterns or experience appetite changes, which can lead to lower energy and more frequent sickness. We may experience emotional or psychological distress, leading to anger, low motivation, anxiety, or even hopelessness. Furthermore, when chronically distressed we may socially withdraw, isolate, or disengage in activities we once enjoyed. When these responses add on to the original stressors, it can begin to feel unmanageable.
How do we address this?
One way is to adopt MySoulrenity’s 4 C’s of Mental Wellness.
The first C of mental wellness is Connection. Establishing meaningful connections with others is a valuable tool in the prevention of suicide. We must be proactive in building and maintaining relationships with others. This doesn’t always come easily, but with some help, strong relationships can be a powerful buffer against stress.
Second, engaging in Craft is essential to promote mental wellness. This involves focusing on your strengths and positive attributes. For instance, when feeling down it may be helpful to reflect on past times of resilience. Hard times can sometimes feel never-ending. Thinking back on experiences in which you have overcome, for instance completing basic training, passing a challenging academic course, or finishing a race or competition, can enhance your motivation to endure the current moment.
Additionally, practicing Centering Yourself can be helpful. Being mindful of our emotions helps us differentiate between what is and what is not in our control. Focusing on what is currently in your control, while also practicing gratitude or being thankful for the good that is present, may help to further promote resilience.
The 4th C of Mental Wellness is seeking a Change of Scenery, specifically as it pertains to getting your body moving. Movement involves both physical activity, like daily exercise, and taking action to manage our stress. Mental wellness, like physical wellness, requires work and intentional exercise of healthy behaviors. We all get to choose how we exercise our mental wellness, whether it be talking to others, engaging in creative activities, or practicing meditation. Whatever we do, it should be regular and intentional.
If you find that you or someone you know is struggling, please seek or offer support. Wellbeing is a team sport, and none of us are expected to perform solo. If you’re or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis know that help is available – dial 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, where counselors are available 24 hours (English, Spanish). Not in the USA? Look at Google’s Crisis Information country list that comes from high-quality websites, partnerships, medical professionals, and search results.
If you have lost someone to suicide or a mental health crisis check out support groups, including an organization called Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors that operates a 24/7 online forum.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time for people, organizations, and communities to join their voices and share that there is hope, help is available, and healing is possible. MySoulrenity always has our door or inbox open for you to reach out to us, please don’t hesitate to look for support.