September 11, 2017 – When people and communities take action, lives can be saved. In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month (September) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16), the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), a public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization – along with hundreds of other local and national organizations – are joining together to inform the public of how simple actions, such as waiting by someone’s side until first responders arrive, can save a person’s life and generate community-wide, system-level impact.
Throughout the month of September, AFSP and the Action Alliance will help spur action by changing the conversation about suicide from one of despair and inevitability to one of hope, health, and resilience.
No special training is required to be there for someone in crisis, to promote stories of hope, and to change the national narrative. Combined with systems such as emergency communications, law enforcement, crisis services, and health care systems, simple actions of compassion can help to get people who are struggling or in crisis get to a place of recovery and wellness.
Here are three simple ways to get involved
Join the Action Alliance and AFSP’s shared effort during 9/10-9/16 to spread the word that everyone can take steps to save lives. Help get the conversation going by:
- using the hashtags #NSPW and #StopSuicide when posting about National Suicide Prevention Week
- signing up in advance for the Thunderclap campaign to automatically tweet simultaneously with thousands of others to announce the start of #NSPW
- heading to AFSP’s #NSPW page, where you can find stories of hope, healing, and tips on how to talk about mental health, add a suicide prevention filter to your profile picture, download social shareables, and much more
- visiting the Action Alliance’s NSPW website to access information about partner campaigns focused on being there for others
- posting the Action Alliance’s shareable social media icons on your social media channels
- downloading and customizing the Action Alliance’s Facebook profile frames
- participating in AFSP’s Twitter chat (on 9/13) on the topic of “How you can #StopSuicide.” Follow along using #StopSuicide from 1-2 PM EST
2) Share your Story!
Stories can serve to inspire, educate, and encourage help seeking. Do you have an action-oriented story of how you or your group has helped to take action for someone who was struggling or in crisis? We want to hear from you! Share with us your story so we can add it to our websites.
Promote resiliency, encourage help-seeking, and publicize prevention successes by talking about suicide prevention SAFELY. To help ensure your messaging is effective and successful, check out the Framework for Successful Messaging, and watch the recent webinar, Developing Successful and Positive Suicide Prevention Messaging – Planning Ahead for Suicide Prevention Month.
While no one person or organization can prevent suicide, it can take only one small action to save a life. The smallest gesture can make a world of difference. This September, please join in our efforts to spread awareness about the many ways that people can help someone feel less alone. Together, we can improve lives, restore hope, and reduce the burden of suicide in the U.S.
By: Colleen Carr, Deputy Director, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention & Stephanie Coggin, Vice President of Communications & Marketing, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention