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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cure Stigma: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The topic of suicide is of significant importance in the United States. It's the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 and the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide can be prevented. However, many people struggle to get the help they desperately need. Why? The answer is complicated, and many factors can prohibit one from seeking treatment for mental illness. However, stigma plays a role in preventing people from getting help, more times than not.

Mental illness like addiction and depression are common; one in five adults suffer from one or more types of mental health disorders. Science tells us that people are not to blame for mental illness. Still, many people in America believe that feeling depressed or developing a dependence on drugs and alcohol is a choice. They think that individuals could choose to be happier or decide to stop using mind-altering substances all on their own. The reality is altogether different.

Mental health disorders are complex diseases for which there is no cure. Fortunately, there are evidence-based treatments that can break the disease cycle and equip men and women with the tools to recover.

The shame that stigmas lead to prevents people from talking about their problems. When men and women are afraid to speak, they are less likely to seek treatment. As a society, we need to work together to acknowledge science and cure stigma. Doing so will save countless lives.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 46 percent of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition. Interviews with family, friends, and medical professionals indicate that 90 percent of people who die by suicide had shown symptoms of mental illness, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

People who are experiencing suicidal thoughts can benefit from talking openly about their issues, but most are afraid of facing repercussions. It's so vital that we, as a society, come together to let those suffering know that support is available, treatment works, and recovery is possible. Individuals in recovery are in a unique position to help encourage others to seek help.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling for the nation to rally behind men and women living with untreated mental health conditions. This includes those who are already working programs of recovery and those who are in therapy for mental illness.

Those in recovery all have a story to tell, and what they have to say can inspire change in people living in despair. If you are in recovery and would like to help NAMI spread messages of hope, then please consider sharing your experience with the world. You can anonymously discuss the obstacles you face and what you have done to make life improvements.

You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk are two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression about mental illness and suicide. If you are not comfortable with sharing your account, then you can help out in other ways. NAMI asks that you utilize the organization's promotional tools to disseminate essential facts about mental health and suicide. NAMI writes:

"It's important for people living with mental health conditions to know that they are not alone. Sharing a story about your personal experiences with mental health challenges can help in your own recovery as well as provide encouragement and support to others with similar experiences." 

Anything you can do to start discussions about mental illness will help to lessen the stigma that keeps people living in silence. Please use Suicide Prevention Awareness Month as an opportunity to inspire hope for recovery in others.

Faith-Based Addiction Recovery Center

At Celebrate Hope, we can help you break the cycle of addiction and address co-occurring mental illnesses. Our staff utilizes evidence-based addiction treatment modalities along with the teachings of Jesus to promote recovery in adult men and women. Please contact us today to learn more.

Please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately, if you are struggling with suicidal ideations.

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