September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Authors, readers, and bloggers are uniting again his year to fight stigma, spread mental health awareness, and support the prevention of suicide. To encourage participation, we’re giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt to one lucky winner.
Two kinds of stigma continue to persist: public stigma and self-stigma. Public stigma occurs when other people view a person with a mental illness in a negative way. Public stigma feeds into self-stigma when people with mental illness internalize the negative talk they hear from others.
Well-meaning people say things like, “Suck it up,” “Choose to be happy,” “Turn that frown upside down,” or “Focus on your blessings,” as if mental illness were a mood, a frame of mind, or an attitude that can simply be overcome at will.
Often, people who suffer from mental illness blame themselves instead of seeking help. Just as a diabetic needs insulin, a person with mental illness may need treatment.
People who contemplate suicide don’t want to die; they just can’t fathom how to live because they are so miserable. They can’t see past their pain and misery, and they see no point in going on.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, “Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.”
IASP explains that “[e]very life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.”
If you’re contemplating suicide, please don’t do it! Instead, seek help. You might be suffering now, but you never know what tomorrow brings. Reach out to a friend or family member. See a doctor. If that doctor doesn’t help, try another. Please don’t give up.
If you’re in crisis, please reach out to the toll-free hotline in your region. You can find your hotline here: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/.
If you are grieving the death of a victim of suicide and need help, here are resources that can help: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Postvention/National_Suicide_Survivor_Organizations/.
If you suspect that someone you know may be contemplating suicide, please reach out. We often hesitate because we’re afraid we might make things worse by saying the wrong thing. According to IASP, “Evidence suggests that this is not the case. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.”
Warning signs to look for include severe anxiety, agitation, hopelessness, rage, feelings of being trapped, a strong urge for vengeance, engaging in risky activities, excessive alcohol and/or drug use, withdrawing from people, trouble sleeping, and dramatic mood changes.
Click to Tweet: Mental illness isn’t a personality flaw; it’s an illness that comes on through no fault of the individual who suffers with it. Mental illness is treatable and suicide is preventable. #WSPD
For my personal section of this blog I want to highlight a very special memoir I edited a few years ago from the wonderfully courageous Elizabeth Biermann.
Her memoir focuses on healing from childhood sexual abuse. The time she spent healing from sexual abuse was not without struggle and yet she considers her journey fairly typical. This has allowed her to look back at her life with peace and move forward with strength and pride. Elizabeth believes it is through speaking out and through awareness that change will come. With awareness in mind, she writes this book for everyone, not just survivors. Available in paperback from Amazon.
WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE
I’d also in this section like to draw attention to a charity anthology I’m part of. All proceeds for this one go to Project Semicolon.
Life is full of ups and downs. We struggle day to day sometimes with our jobs, social interactions, bills and finding time to spend with our families. It can be somewhat depressing to go through the motions, waiting for that break so more time can be devoted to what matters most. Delve into the darkest depths of life in this anthology to find the strength to overcome the hardships.
Book lovers from all over the world have joined together to share their stories and spread mental health awareness. Please follow this tour guide to find our posts and to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 t-shirt:
From September 1-10, enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt. There are lots of ways to enter below–choose one or all. You can also tweet daily for extra entries. We’ll email the winner by September 11th.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
1. On September 10th at 8 p.m. your time, light a candle to remember all those we have lost to suicide and to represent the hope of preventing suicide. People all over the world will be participating. You can send an ecard in 63 different languages to invite others to participate. Find the ecards here.
2. Purchase a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 for $20. For every shirt sold, five dollars is donated to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Order yours here.
3. Spread the word about this giveaway, to encourage more people to read our posts and tweet about overcoming stigma. Use the share buttons at the bottom of this post, and
Here are videos on suicide and mental helath that I have found to be helpful: