September is Suicide Prevention Month.
We take this as an opportunity to raise awareness and discuss mental health in the Black community, while also reminding those we serve that they are not alone, and that we are here to help.
Black suicide rates have increased in the past two decades, the largest increase in any demographic.
It's essential to acknowledge that sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice are necessary aspects of any suicide prevention efforts. We believe that advocating for better mental health services is sexual and reproductive justice.
Your mental health is a priority every day of the year.
Changing the Culture of Suicide Prevention
Since the declaration of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in 2008, there have been major shifts in the public consciousness around suicide.
A 2021 survey done by the Healthy Minds Network shows a decrease in stigmatization towards seeking help and receiving treatment further highlighting that stigmas surrounding the topic decreased by 18% between 2007 and 2017.
This type of progress is necessary to remove the stigma against reaching out for help, but it alone cannot bring this crisis to an end.
The Epidemic of Black Suicide
Black suicide rates have increased in the past two decades and young Black people are most at risk.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates among those ages 10 to 24 rose 36.6% from 2018 to 2021, the largest percentage jump among any demographic.
At a time with restrictive policies on basic health care services, as well as a global pandemic, we must support one another by checking in, creating space to feel safe and talk freely, and listening to understand rather than responding.
Media Literacy as a Suicide Prevention Tool
Suicide is a frequent subject in news and entertainment media.
And while the overall tone has shifted from shame or glorification to a healthier acknowledgment of the intersectional and medical conditions that increase risk, we must remain mindful and informed about the language and messaging being used to reduce the suicide exposure effect. Suicide is an often stigmatized and dark topic but this can change by starting the conversation about mental health.
How to Support Someone Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts
The suicide prevention group, bethere.org, highlights the golden rules to support someone struggling with their mental health.
Say What You See Learn how to break the ice and start the conversation.
Show You Care Learn how to build trust and support someone.
Hear Them Out Learn how to be a good listener and balance the conversation.
Know Your Role Learn how to set boundaries to protect your relationship and your mental health.
Connect to Help Learn how to help someone access professional and community resources.
Local Resources for Suicide Prevention
Atlanta offers many options for those in need to speak with someone regarding their suicidal feelings. Click on the words in italics in yellow to visit their websites
Atlanta Area Crisis & Access Lines (operated by Behavioral Health Link) 1-800-715-4225 For Georgia residents wanting access to suicide prevention care
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) NAMI Information Line Call (800) 950-NAMI