Talk Saves Lives Recap – Suicide Prevention and Wellness during the Holidays

Written by: Victoria Eckert

This blog contains information and discussion surrounding grief, suicide, and suicide prevention. If you are someone you know is struggling, you can call or online chat with: 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

1–800–273-TALK (8255) 

The Lifeline is a 24-hour toll-free phone line for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. An online chat option is available.

This past September, Youth MOVE National participated in sharing resources surrounding suicide prevention. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which is an opportunity to bring together mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members to promote suicide awareness, share stories, and connect resources to help the cause.  

Youth MOVE National teamed up with our partner, NTTAC – The National Training & Technical Assistance Center to offer Talk Saves Lives (TSL): An Introduction to Suicide Prevention to partners and communities across the country.  

TSL is one of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s standardized education programs that provides participants with a clear understanding of this leading cause of death, including the most up-to-date research on suicide prevention, and what they can do in their communities to save lives.

Participants who attended this training learned common risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide, and how to keep themselves and others safe. 

Topics covered included:

  • Scope: The latest data on suicide in the U.S. and worldwide
  • Research: Information from research on what causes people to consider suicide, as well as health, historical, and environmental factors that put individuals at risk
  • Prevention: An understanding of the protective factors that lower suicide risk, and strategies for managing mental health and being proactive about self-care.
  • What You Can Do?: Guidance on warning signs and behaviors to look for, and how to get help for someone in a suicidal crisis.

In addition to the training opportunity we offered through NTTAC, we also presented TSL at a Youth MOVE Chapter Chat.  Youth and young adults that attended shared profound personal stories, spoke about how their communities are currently engaged in suicide prevention initiatives, and had action-oriented discussions on needed resources that may inspire movement in the areas that they represent.  

Many people are often worried to talk with young people about suicide — with the fear that if we talk about it, we will put the idea in their minds.  TSL teaches us the common misconceptions that we have grown to believe and to help open up the door for open, direct conversations that help save lives even though it may seem difficult.

The stigmas related to mental health and/or suicide are often a barrier for someone to reach out to talk to a professional or even someone that they trust. Now more than ever, we MUST find the courage to talk to one another.  If you are worried about someone close to you, having the strength to ask direct, open, and clear questions can be one of the best protective factors we can offer along with knowing how to connect someone who has thoughts of suicide to professional help and a crisis hotline.

“Are you thinking of suicide?” or “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” or “You are not yourself today and I am worried about you, please tell me more about what is going on.” Questions like these provide validation for the person’s struggles, shows that we are paying attention to differences in their emotions/behaviors, and provides confidence that we are prepared to help them stay safe at that moment.

For many, the holiday season is a joyous time but in the last few years, we have experienced some very unique challenges as we learn to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The stress of changes in routine, physical and mental health issues, as well as relationship conflicts some people may be experiencing, can be exhausting and debilitating, truly making it hard to be in any kind of “holiday” spirit. Just remember it is OKAY to not be OKAY — but talking about it with someone close to us can help and can be life-saving.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out to someone who can help.  

DURING AN EMERGENCY, CALL 911.

Click here for additional suicide prevention resources>>

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