September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
#BeThe1To help someone else.
As part of National Suicide Prevention Month (9/1-9/30), the Lifeline is highlighting the key message that everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. You might be wondering, "But what can I do?" You can do a lot - which is why we're encouraging everyone this month to "Be The 1 To" help someone else.
Throughout September, we will be releasing a series of graphics that will list the 5 steps you can take to help someone in suicidal crisis (see below). You will also find several other lifesaving resources here for you to share with family, friends, colleagues, and more via social media throughout the entire month and beyond.
Step 1: #BeThe1To Ask.
You should also #BeThe1To ask:
...when somebody is in emotional pain and increasing their use of drugs and alcohol.
...when somebody is in emotional pain and sleeping very little (or much more than usual).
...when somebody is in emotional pain and feeling like there is no way out and no end to the pain.
...when somebody is in emotional pain and acting recklessly.
...when somebody is in emotional pain and feeling very angry or having other extreme moods.
Most people are concerned that asking will give the other person ideas or upset them more - but this is a myth. Research shows that people who are not suicidal do not become upset or "get ideas" if they are asked about it, and people who are having thoughts of suicide actually feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way. Always Be The 1 To Ask.
Step 2: #BeThe1To Keep Them Safe.
Research from around the world is very clear that gun safety—using trigger locks, removing ammunition, and reducing access to firearms for persons in emotional crisis—significantly reduces suicide. If your friend is in emotional pain, feeling hopeless and owns a firearm, Be The 1 To Keep Them Safe!
Also be sure to tell them that their life is important to you and that you would like to keep them away from anything they could use to harm themselves while they are suffering through this very hard time in their lives.
Check out and share this important video on gun safety from the Veterans Health Administration.
Step 3: #BeThe1To Be There.
Be The 1 To Be There with persons who are thinking about suicide. Feeling less alone helps people feel more connected, and feeling more connected to others can reduce the desire for suicide.
Step 4: #BeThe1To Help Them Connect.
Neither you nor the person you care about who is suicidal need to be alone. Make sure you involve caring others in the person’s life to create a web of support around them.
It's important to note that sometimes people who are feeling suicidal don’t want you to tell others and to keep it a secret. Let them know that this is a secret that is deadly, and that you care too much about them to not get them help that could reduce their pain and keep them alive. And then go with them to inform caring others, and make a call to the Lifeline with them.
You can also help them create their own safety plan! Click here for tips on what to include.
Step 5: #BeThe1To Follow Up.
Knowing someone cares enough to follow up with them will also make them more likely to reach out to you again the next time they are feeling this way.
* To save a graphic, simply right click the image and select "Save Image As."