(WTRF) – If you need help, ask. We say that frequently.
When it comes to suicide prevention we shouldn’t wait for people to reach out, and instead reach in to them. There may be someone too scared to admit how they’re feeling. So, we need to tell them they matter, and be persistent in helping them change the direction of their mental health.
Before we go any further, if you or someone you know is in crisis right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or text 741741. You can also visit preventsuicidewv.com.
I think you need to make it ok to say the word suicide.Barri Faucett, Director, Prevent Suicide West Virginia
It’s an uncomfortable word, a scary thought, but there are some living with that fear alone. That’s why we have to keep an eye on those we love.
If someone says that they’re ok and you don’t believe them, then there’s your answer.Michelle Toman, Founder, Brother UP
Michelle Toman, who is the founder of Brother Up, and Barri Faucett, the Director of Prevent Suicide West Virginia, say if you think someone is struggling, they probably are.
So ask, more than once.
It is scary every single time and you’re unsure what the response will be, but by saying that word suicide you’re honoring where that individual is and you’re allowing them to have that conversation and share a conversation that they’ve had in isolation about their own life or death with somebody else.Barri Faucett, Director, Prevent Suicide West Virginia
Acknowledge where the person is, and meet them where they are by being open to offering them a place for a safe and compassionate conversation.
Toman and Faucett emphasize that we cannot always depend on people to reach out, which is why leaning in is so critical.
One person, it doesn’t matter how much perhaps we want to save a life, that individual also has to be willing to accept help on behalf of themselves.Michelle Toman, Founder, Brother UP
Toman and Faucett feel conversations about mental health are becoming more frequent nationwide and that perhaps the only good to come from the COVID-19 pandemic was an increased focus and awareness of mental health.
We absolutely have torn down that stigma and sometimes that shame that is associated with a mental health condition or having thoughts about suicide.Michelle Toman, Founder, Brother UP
Suicide prevention is the responsibility of everyone, and within the capability of anyone and when we get there, we will continue to increase and save lives. We need to get to the place where suicide prevention, intervention is a priority for everyone everyday.Barri Faucett, Director, Prevent Suicide West Virginia
Having a day, week, or month to recognize suicide prevention is important, but it’s more than that.
For some it’s suicide prevention day every single day, and so we also want to honor those people. This is heavy work, and we want to honor those people who are doing this work day in and day out, behind the scenes, on the front lines, in the trenches, because they have mental health too and it’s important to acknowledge that.Michelle Toman, Founder, Brother UP
Remember, there is hope and there is help.