Yesterday, September 10th, 2013, was National Suicide Prevention Day. I was touched and grateful to receive the following text message from a colleague and friend: In light of National Suicide Prevention Day, I just wanted to let you know that I love you and I'm so grateful to have you in my life :) What a great example of slowing down to check in with others. There are many stories of people who have successfully used the power of personal, compassionate attention to pick up on another's suicidal thoughts and prevent a suicide attempt. Contrary to what many of us fear, talking about suicide does not cause a person to attempt suicide. In fact, it is often having no one to talk to about suicidal feelings that creates the sense of hopelessness and being trapped that may lead to an attempt.
Paying attention, knowing what to look for, and being confident in approaching someone in crisis are important components to being able to make everyday matter in suicide prevention. Take a look at the Take 5 site for some tips http://www.take5tosavelives.org/. Contact us at Walden about taking one of our 8-hour certification classes in Mental Health First Aid USA. Put our 24-hour crisis hotline in your phone, 301-863-6661 if you live in St. Mary's County should you need to share it with someone. Also, add the Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline 800-422-0009 and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1 800 273 TALK (8255) that also serves veterans as the National Veterans Hotline.
And, for everyone who has ever attempted suicide or felt like attempting, or someone who has suffered the pain of losing a loved one to suicide, please know that there is always someone to talk to who will not judge. It may be a matter of finding the right person. Maybe it is a friend, family member, a counselor, faith community leader or a caring stranger on the other end of a hotline. Even though it is difficult, please reach out. We want to talk, and you are important and special to us.