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Suicide Prevention Month
September is Suicide Prevention Month. According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, for every person who dies by suicide each year, there are 280 more people who have thought seriously about it but don’t follow through with a suicide attempt. We can all take action to help prevent suicide – and you can be the one to help someone else.

There are five steps you can take to help someone in crisis:

Ask. Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. Ask directly – “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” This lets someone know you are open to talking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Then listen. It may be a relief to be able to talk about it if they don’t know how or when to bring it up.

Keep them safe. If that person says yes, be there to keep them safe. Temporarily separate them from anything they are thinking of using to hurt themselves (firearms, medications, etc.) According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal means is an important part of suicide prevention.

Be there. Listen without judgment and with compassion and empathy. Being there increases someone’s thoughts of connectedness to others and limits isolation. It also provides time; research shows that suicidal feelings are often transitory and will lessen with time.

Help them connect. Help that person connect to ongoing supports, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, family, friends, clergy, coaches, co-workers or a local mental health center. A safety plan can include a list of individuals to contact when a crisis occurs.

Follow up. Be the one to follow up. Make a call, send a text, leave a message. A simple form of reaching out can make all the difference, and let them know they’re not alone.

For more information, please visit

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “home” to 741741.

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