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An Easier Understanding of Suicide, Prevention And Awareness

15 Feb 2024

Suicide Prevention: Understanding What To Do After A Suicide

 

Spreading Awareness: The Importance of Suicide Prevention

Suicide awareness is a crucial aspect of mental health advocacy, shedding light on the complexities surrounding suicide prevention. As an expert in personal experiences of both sides of the fence of suicide, I recognize the importance of spreading awareness about suicide and its impact not only on individuals but also on families and communities to contribute to suicide prevention.

Let's dive into the significance and the impact of suicide awareness, share the challenges faced by individuals struggling with suicides, or suicidal thoughts, and provide actionable insights for supporting mental health and preventing suicide because, yes mental health matters.

Additionally, the often overlooked aspect of supporting siblings of suicide victims, highlighting the importance of their mental health and well being in the aftermath of such a tragic event and the critical issue of veteran suicides, to shed light on the unique challenges faced by those who have served our country.

 

Understanding Suicide Awareness And Mental Health

Suicide awareness encompasses a range of efforts aimed at increasing understanding, empathy, compassion and support for individuals at risk of suicide. It involves breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and mental illnesses and fostering open ways of communication about suicides, suicidal thoughts and behaviors. By raising awareness together, we can help educate communities about the warning signs of suicide, inform others about available resources for support, and effective strategies for intervention and help.

 

Mental Health Awareness: The Foundation of Suicide Prevention

Central to suicide awareness is the promotion of mental health awareness. Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well being, and it is essential for overall health and functioning. However, mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can significantly impact an individual's ability to cope with life's challenges, increasing their vulnerability to suicidal thoughts.

As advocates for suicide prevention, we must prioritize destigmatizing mental health and mental illness by promoting early intervention and treatment. This involves encouraging individuals to seek help when they experience symptoms of mental health disorders and providing them with access to quality mental health care services regardless of their status or income. By addressing mental health concerns proactively, we can reduce the risk of many suicides and improve the overall well being of our communities and families.

 

The Challenges of Suicide Prevention

Preventing suicide poses numerous challenges, including identifying individuals at risk, overcoming barriers to seek help, and implementing effective intervention strategies. One of the most significant hurdles is the stigma surrounding mental health or mental illness, which often prevents individuals from disclosing their struggles to seek support.

Moreover, many people are unaware of the warning signs of suicide or how to even respond when someone they know is actually, in a crisis. This lack of awareness can lead to missed opportunities for intervention and support, ultimately contributing to the prevalence of suicides in our society.

To address these challenges, we must prioritize education and training in suicide prevention not for just healthcare professionals and educators but, also for families and community members. A community that is educated can be more beneficial during these difficult times.

By equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills to recognize the signs of suicide risk and intervene immediately and effectively, we can help to save lives, promote mental health and well being in a more positive way. Another positive impact can be with popular awareness clothing such as suicide t-shirts and suicide hoodies to help bring awareness to the front and center of attention, where it belongs.

 

Supporting Siblings of Suicide: The Forgotten Side

While much attention is rightfully focused on parents and other individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts, we must not overlook the unique needs of siblings of suicide victims. Losing a sibling to suicide can have profound and lasting effects on one's mental health and well being, yet this population often receives inadequate support and recognition.

Siblings of suicide face a range of emotions, including grief, guilt, anger, and shame. They may struggle to make sense of their loss and experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Additionally, they may grapple with their own mental health issues as a result of their sibling's death, or blaming themselves for not being able to stop it, further compounding their distress and grief.

As mental health advocates, it is essential to acknowledge the experiences of siblings of suicide and provide them with the right support and resources they need to heal and get through such tragedies. This may involve offering counseling services specifically tailored to their needs, creating support groups where they can connect with others who share similar experiences, and raising awareness about the impact of sibling suicide loss within our communities.

 

Veteran Suicide: Understanding and Addressing A Critical Issue

In addition to supporting individuals in the general population, it is crucial to address the unique challenges faced by veterans concerning mental health and suicide. Veterans often experience a myriad of mental health issues stemming from their service, including PTSD, depression, and substance abuse, which can significantly increase their risk of suicide.

Factors such as combat exposure, traumatic brain injuries, life altering injuries, and difficulties transitioning to civilian life can exacerbate existing mental health challenges among veterans, making them particularly vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Furthermore, stigma surrounding mental health issues within the military community may prevent veterans from seeking help or disclosing their struggles to others.

To address veteran suicides effectively, we must prioritize comprehensive mental health care services tailored to the unique needs of veterans. This includes expanding access to evidence based treatments for conditions such as PTSD and depression, increasing outreach and support for veterans in crisis, and fostering a culture of openness and support within the military community.

 

 

Actionable Strategies for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Support

In addition to raising awareness about suicide and mental health, there are several actionable strategies we can implement to prevent suicide and support those in need:

  • Promote open and honest communication about mental health: Encourage¬†people to speak openly about their thoughts and feelings and to seek help when it's needed.
  • Educate communities about the warning signs of suicide: Provide training and resources to help communities recognize when someone may be at risk of suicide and how to intervene effectively.
  • Advocate for improved access to mental health care services: Support policies and initiatives that expand access to affordable, quality mental health care for all people, equally.
  • Foster a supportive and inclusive environment: Create spaces where people feel safe and supported to express themselves without fear of judgment or stigma.
  • Prioritize self care and well being: Encourage¬†people to prioritize self care practices such as exercise, mindfulness, and healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and improve their mental health.

 

By understanding and working together as a community, we can make a significant stride in suicide prevention and mental health support, together.

 

Understanding What To Do After A Suicide:

You may be asking yourself.. what happens now, or where do I go from here. In a simple answer, you start over. Forget who you were and what you knew because, that person no longer exists. This was one of the hardest facts for me to grasp during my journey in the aftermath of suicide of losing my little sister.

Everyone goes home and all you have left are the painful memories of the event, a mess to clean up, your thoughts and complete silence. You can't seem to hear anything but, your heartbeat at times. Everything sounds and feels so far away and, you can physically feel your heart breaking into a million little pieces over and over and over.. and that's a tough one to get through.

You should know, you will have lots of unanswered questions that you're never going to have an answer to and that is a reality and if you can learn to accept that sooner than later, it will help you stay out of the darker, depressed fog. From here, the only thing you can do is take it one day at a time. Anything else will become overwhelming and knock you down.

So, learn to take slow breaths and try again with whatever it is you are doing at the moment if, you need to take a break, just stop until you can go again and if, you just can't do anymore then, let it go for the day, there's no shame in stopping for the day. Just don't be so hard on yourself because, the things you're facing and going through are not any normal situation, it is a very traumatic situation and can be unbearable at times.

You will begin to see that you become easily exhausted and can't seem to finish a thing. It's ok, this will be normal because, remember.. you can no longer do the things you used to do. You won't understand why or what the heck is wrong with you and the truth is.. you're just broken. Your world has come crashing down on you and your puzzle has fallen apart. You'll need to create new pieces to make a new puzzle because, that old puzzle just isn't the same anymore and it will no longer fit together, the way it was or the way that you think it should be.

So, just know that it is going to take some time.. you will need to find new ways to turn that anger and pain into something else. Find new ways and positive outlets to deal with the anger you're feeling because, trust me.. you will hit the anger stage eventually, and it will eat you alive if, you let it. No matter what you tell yourself, there isn't a thing you can do to change what has happened. All you can do now is learn to live without them.

Learn to live again, learn to eat, learn to sleep, learn to laugh, learn to stand, learn to crawl and learn to accept the fact that you are going to fall but eventually.... you will smile again and you will be ok. In the meantime, feel what it is you gotta feel and deal with it, don't bury it, and don't ignore it.. deal with it when you're faced with it because, if not it will hit you like a ton of bricks later on, making it that much harder for you to deal with and throw you off track just enough to lose your progress, as if someone has just pulled the rug out from under you.

By this point, you're going to have what we called "good days" and "bad days" and they can be tough but, remember.. it's a process and not every day will be the same. Today you might get through the day without crying or being stuck on the thought. Tomorrow, you may be broken and can't believe it. The next day can be just ok but, no matter what... remember to just take it one day at a time.

Good luck on your journey, you can do this. If, you ahould need any help, there are so many resources out there and we've listed several, below for you. Feel free to reach out to any of us at Loyalty Vibes as well, we are family first. We're not certified professionals by any means, this is just part of our story with an easier understanding of the hard truth and realities about suicide and the aftermath of suicide, from our side.

I highly recommend, the heartbeat survivors after suicide or suicide groups. It's important to hear other stories and physically see other people's pain or share the understanding when you can relate. It is important to hear and to know.. you're not alone.

 

Conclusion

Suicide awareness is a critical component of mental health advocacy, serving to educate and empower individuals to recognize the warning signs of suicide, seek help when needed, and support those in crisis. By promoting mental health awareness, addressing the challenges of suicide prevention, supporting siblings of suicide victims, and addressing the unique needs of veterans, we can create a more compassionate and supportive society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and live, again. Together, let us continue to raise awareness, break down stigmas, and prioritize mental health and well-being for all.

 

 

My Personal Thoughts: There Is No Manual On Suicide

If suicide has taught myself and my family anything.. life doesn't come with a manual and the aftermath of suicide is the hardest part. There isn't a thing in the world that will take away your pain and learning to live without your loved one is going to take time.

People will tell you how to grieve or say "enough" or "get over it" and all that jazz.. but, in truth they just really don't understand what you're actually feeling inside, they don't understand what you're thinking, wishing, hoping or all around going through. They cannot grasp the fact that while life still goes on for them, your world is over and falling apart. The hard truth is that unfortunately, people cannot comprehend, they cannot understand how it feels until, they're in you're shoes.

Suicide is an ugly thing, no matter what side of the fence you're on.. from losing someone to suicide or being suicidal yourself. Nothing about suicide is easy and somehow, it will forever be a part of your life regardless of age, whether you want it to be or not.

How you choose to deal with it and live again is up to you. What I know is your support system is everything. Having no one and having someone can make all the difference in the world.

I thank God every day for having my wife by my side. We lost my younger sister at the age of 18. she had her whole life to live still and I cannot tell you the struggles we went through to get to the other side. But, I can tell you.. that if, it wasn't for her (my wife), I would not be here to tell you this story, today.

You might say.. well, I don't have anyone.. nobody cares. I say.. there is ALWAYS someone. There are plenty of people who have been in your shoes and will understand what you're going through. The hard part is up to you, and that's to reach out to someone, anyone. There are so many resources for help and someone to talk too, but you have got to do your part.

I leave this with you, asking you to join us in the fight against suicide and help us make a difference, together. Because, I believe no one should fight alone, ever.

Sincerely, Angel

"There is hope for you, okay - Remember.. you're not alone"

 

Resources For Suicide With Mental Health Support

National Resources - Support Services, Information, and Assistance:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress, 24/7. They offer support and resources for individuals experiencing emotional distress or in suicidal crisis.

 

Crisis Text Line:

 

 

Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text message for individuals in crisis. Trained crisis counselors are available to provide support and resources to help individuals cope with any issue they may be facing.

  • Website: Crisis Text Line
  • Text "HELLO" to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

 

Veterans Crisis Line:

 

 

The Veterans Crisis Line provides support for veterans and their families who are experiencing emotional distress, including thoughts of suicide. Trained responders are available 24/7 to offer support, guidance, and resources.

 

 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP):

AFSP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about suicide prevention, providing support for those affected by suicide, and funding research to better understand and prevent suicide.


The Trevor Project:

The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. They offer a 24/7 hotline, online chat, and text support for young people in crisis.

  • Website: The Trevor Project
  • TrevorLifeline (Phone): 1-866-488-7386
  • TrevorText (Text): Text "START" to 678678

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

SAMHSA offers resources and information on mental health and substance abuse disorders, including treatment options and support services.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

NAMI provides advocacy, education, support, and public awareness programs for individuals and families affected by mental health conditions.

 

These resources offer a range of support services, information, and assistance for individuals struggling with mental health issues or experiencing thoughts of suicide. It's essential to reach out for help when needed, and these organizations are here to provide support and assistance to those in crisis.

 

Local Colorado Resources: - Support Services, Information, and Assistance:

 

Colorado Crisis Services:

Colorado Crisis Services provides free, confidential, and professional support for individuals and families in crisis or in need of mental health support. They offer a variety of services, including a 24/7 hotline, text support, and walk-in crisis centers.


 

Mental Health Colorado:

Mental Health Colorado is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting mental health, ending stigma, and ensuring access to mental health care for all Coloradans. They offer resources, advocacy, and support for individuals and families affected by mental health conditions.

 

 

Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention:

The Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention works to reduce suicide rates and promote mental health and wellness across the state. They provide resources, training, and support for suicide prevention efforts in local communities.

 

 

Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program:

The Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program offers free crisis counseling and support services to individuals and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trained crisis counselors provide emotional support, coping strategies, and referrals to additional resources.

 

 

 

 

The Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus:

CSPR conducts research, provides education, and offers resources aimed at preventing suicide and promoting mental health. They offer training programs, community outreach, and support for individuals affected by suicide.

 

 

 

For Other CSPR Services:

  • You can navigate through their departments or search function to find more information about the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research (CSPR) and their activities.
  • If you require further assistance, I recommend reaching out to the university directly for more information about CSPR.

 

Helping Individuals and Colorado Families:

**These resources offer valuable support, information, and assistance for individuals and families in Colorado who may be struggling with mental health issues or experiencing thoughts of suicide. It's important to reach out for help when needed, and these organizations are here to provide support and guidance.

 

Local Colorado Springs Resources:

 

Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention:

 

Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention offers support and resources for individuals and families affected by suicide. They provide education, training, and crisis intervention services to prevent suicide and promote mental health in the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado Mental Health Hotline:

The Colorado Mental Health Hotline offers a variety of mental health services, including crisis intervention, counseling, and support groups. They provide comprehensive care for individuals experiencing mental health challenges.

 

 

Peak View Behavioral Health:

Peak View Behavioral Health is a psychiatric hospital in Colorado Springs that provides acute inpatient and outpatient mental health services for individuals of all ages. They offer crisis stabilization, psychiatric evaluations, and therapy programs.

 

AspenPointe Crisis Stabilization Unit:

AspenPointe operates a Crisis Stabilization Unit in Colorado Springs, providing short-term crisis intervention and stabilization services for individuals experiencing acute mental health crises. They offer 24/7 support and assistance.

 

211 Colorado:

211 Colorado is a comprehensive resource directory that connects individuals with community services and support, including mental health resources, crisis intervention services, and support groups. They offer a helpline available 24/7.

 

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus:

Also known as the Depression Center or the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center. Their goal help to understand and treat people with depression among other disorders.

 

These last two were a big part of our lives for many years. They were a huge help for us. Give em a call or just stop by and check it out for yourself. 

Heartbeat Survivors After Suicide: 

Heartbeat Survivors After Suicide is a support group, a family and a community. They have helped numerous people begin to heal after the loss of a loved one from suicide. LaRita personally helped my wife and I through our journey and we will forever be grateful. We still have our ornament and candles from our very first meeting.

Their Survivor Support Group meetings take place the 1st Tuesday and 1st Wednesday of every month. All are welcome and it is free to attend, no fees. 

 

Suicide Prevention Partnership of Pikes Peak Region:

The Suicide Prevention Partnership of Pikes Peak Region is a support service to provide free support services and resources for suicide prevention and awareness. They are definitely, a big part of our community and provide a tremendous amount of resources and help.

They were also, a big part of our lives and contributed to the introduction of LaRita at Heartbeat Survivors After Suicide. 

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