September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – an initiative to help educate the public about suicide prevention and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. While colleges and universities have made valiant efforts with increasing resources and awareness at their institutions, suicide is still the second most common cause of death among college students and should continue to be a major focus.
And, with the looming COVID-19 global pandemic and national unrest due to racial injustice, your community members may be suffering from even greater emotional distress and anxiety. Therefore, it’s even more important to utilize Suicide Prevention Awareness Month as a vehicle to review your current prevention strategies to educate campus members, encourage healthier behaviors, and reduce the stigma.
Last September, we focused on the facts about suicide in higher education along with action to help reduce stigma on campus. In this article, we will be featuring national organizations dedicated to helping reduce suicide along with helpful resources for you to utilize at your college or university to spread awareness.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care and provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 across the United States.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a variety of resources that can be utilized by colleges and universities on a variety of topics. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Promote National Suicide Prevention Month – Media Kits, Brochures and Materials, #BeThe1To Campaign, and Additional Resources to Support Campus Campaigns on Suicide Prevention.
- Emotional Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Outbreak – Coping Tips, Reliable Resources by the CDC and WHO, Tips to Manage Stress, Tips for Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health, and More.
- Coping During Community Unrest – Coping Tips, PDFs, Coping with Race-Based Trauma, Resources for Black Americans, and Tips on Reactions and Actions during Community Violence.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, and it works to educate, advocate, listen, and lead to improve the lives of people with mental illness and their loves ones.
NAMI has a variety of resources that can be utilized by colleges and universities as well as local groups to help support efforts. Here are a few of our picks from NAMI:
It’s important to not only focus these efforts during Suicide Awareness Prevention Month, but to develop a more comprehensive strategic prevention plan that spans throughout the academic year to help educate community members on mental health and illness, as well as promote available resources for those seeking help.
If you're interested in learning more about Mental Health, make sure to check out our comprehensive Mental Wellness Guide, which examines some of the most prevalent mental illnesses on campuses, discusses risk factors, shares statistics on mental health in higher education, and shares strategies on how one can create a positive environment.
If you or someone you know are suffering from a mental illness crisis, please seek help immediately. Please call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or 911.
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SafeColleges Training has a variety of employee and student mental health-related courses that help institutions raise awareness, identify risk factors and warning signs, and provide strategies to users on how to create positive environments.