September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
National Suicide Prevention Week is Sunday, September 8 through Saturday, September 14. It’s a time to share resources and stories, as well as promote suicide prevention awareness.
World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10. It’s a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most.
All month, communities around the U.S. are uniting to promote suicide prevention awareness, but it is important to understand that prevention and health are necessary year round. Research shows that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks how they’re doing in a caring way. Make it a point to check in on your Marines, family members and others close to you. It may not always be apparent when someone isn’t doing their best, but providing an opportunity to start the conversation can help.
Some warning signs to be aware of include:
Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may also help someone thinking about it. People are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after talking to someone who listens without judgment.
While September is a month of awareness, your health and wellbeing is important year-round, as are these tips. Whether you’re a Marine leader, a junior Marine, or a family member, learning to recognize when something is wrong amongst those around you and be there for them is crucial to maintaining a strong community and a resilient fighting force.
You’re Not Alone
You never know what internal battles those around you are fighting. It is important to remember, and remind others, that no one is alone in this struggle. If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, or any of the warning signs discussed, call the DSTRESS Line:
Marine Corps Community Services talked to NFL veteran Ricky Jean Francois and his sister, Maj Villiana Jean Francois, to talk about how they practice self-care and their own forms of warrior maintenance to avoid getting overwhelmed. Listen to Part 1 of the three-part podcast below!
In a brief video message to Marines, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps, Ronald Green, kicked off the Own It! campaign saying, “we are all responsible for our own actions but, protecting the honor of the Marine Corps is a family business, and we all play a role.” Own It! is a nine-week awareness campaign designed to start a discussion about getting off the sidelines and doing something, if you see something.
Talking about suicide can be scary for all involved, but making hard conversations a regular part of parent/teen communication makes it easier to tackle the tough topics like suicide.