Though suicidal thoughts are often linked to treatable mental disorders, there's no hope of finding a real cure that can eliminate the desire to end one's life. This can seem disheartening, even discouraging. But, as many survivors can tell you, there's always hope in recovering and leaving the thought of suicide behind for good. While there's no exact science to make this happen, there are some things that we as a community can do for our fellow members who are struggling with these thoughts.
- Connect with non-profits dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention, like To Write Love on Her Arms and the American Association of Suicidology. TWLOHA focuses on crushing the negative stigma associated with mental health, and hosts events across America to spread awareness and support. They sell some pretty rad merchandise, and all of the proceeds go to supporting the organization in its quest to help those struggling with their mental health. The American Association of Suicidology works to understand more about suicide through research and science in hopes of targeting and eliminating the causes. They are leaders in promoting mental health education across America, and even sell much of their education programs. Donate once or participate in an event with either organization to help prevent suicide.
- Educate yourself and those you love on what mental health truly looks like, and what the signs of suicidal thoughts are. There are so many online resources for this, including Save.org, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NAMI, and Reach Out. So much of ending the stigma surrounding mental health can be done through a societal education on the subject.
- Volunteer your time. Organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, IMAlive, and Didi Hirsch are always looking for volunteers, and they're always appreciative of any help they receive. If, like me, you find it too emotionally difficult to help at a hotline, there are many other ways to become involved through NIMH.
- Listen. It is harder than almost anything in the world to hear that someone you love is considering suicide, but your one-on-one support is really important to them at this time in their life. It's also exceptionally difficult to know how to respond in this situation. The most important things to remember is that they probably already know that considering suicide is terrible, so avoid reminding them of that. Tell them that you love them unconditionally and offer to help in any way they need, even if it's just a text message every day reminding them how amazing they are. You can find more information at: Time to Change, Help Guide, Mayo Clinic, and Surviving Anorexia.