As the month comes to a close, The Long Walk Home (TLWH) reminds you that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. Despite outdated misconceptions, suicide is neither a personal failure or evidence of mental illness, but rather a common human response to difficult environmental factors and emotional pain. Improving life circumstances, enhancing social connection and reducing emotional pain are the most effective ways to reduce the frequency and intensity of suicidal thoughts and feelings.

The Numbers:

  • 78% of all people who die by suicide are male.
  • Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.
  • The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999.
  • 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition.
  • While nearly half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experienced symptoms.
  • The suicide rate among military personnel is 50% higher than the national average.

As we continue to advocate for mental health and mental care, we want to provide you with the very first steps: self-awareness and understanding ourselves. These are the keys to remaining resilient.

Are you aware of what’s going on around you and inside your head? Self-awareness allows you to recognize what is occurring so that you can think introspectively and reflect on how you are reacting in the moment. If you’re highly self-aware, you can objectively evaluate yourself and keep emotions in check. You can also have a better understanding of how others might perceive you. Your ability to understand yourself (your downfalls, your strengths, your triggers) are vital to building resilience. Keep a Self-Awareness Journal to track your thoughts. Spend time each day writing down how you reacted to certain people or situations that day. Were there any triggers? What were they? How did you react? Why did you react that way? What strengths showed through? What behaviors could you improve upon? Just the mere act of keeping this journal is self-awareness!

If that seems a little too daunting or maybe you would prefer something a little more specific and guided…Gratitude Journal. Journal once a day for 5 days and then take a look back at what you’ve written.  You will notice a change in the way you are perceiving things, I promise.

Your mental health matters, and is just as important as your physical health. Good mental health helps you cope with stress and can improve your quality of life. Talking to a counselor about any questions you have about how to help support others or how to get help for yourself is a great place to start.

#BeThe1To Ask
#BeThe1To Keep Them Safe
#BeThe1To Be There
#BeThe1To Help Them Connect
#BeThe1To Follow Up

Written by:
IS1 Mallard, Raven, USN
C4I Target Developer

Please forward this to anyone you feel might benefit from reading this. Suicide is an internal battle, and often we have no idea who is having suicidal thoughts. 

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