True Courage is Asking for Help

Blogging For Suicide Prevention BadgePeople all over the world understand the significance of the date September 11th. And lots of great writers have tackled the ongoing importance of that date for our country our and identities. I’d like to focus on a different date that occurred this week. As I mentioned in the balance roundup, September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day.

I have been thinking about this all week, and I’m not the only one. This campaign from the USC’s MSW Programs Suicide Prevention Blog Day has links to all kinds of powerful stories from survivors, loved ones, and mental health professionals. There are tons of links to support resources (I’ll share some more below). So I found myself wondering what I could say that would add something to the discussion. And my mind kept coming back to this.

The help is out there, but first you have to ask.

The roots of my work in mental health are in suicide prevention and crisis hotline work, and in the seventeen years since then, I have spoken with many people who were suicidal, had been suicidal, or had survived the loss of a loved one to suicide. Each person’s situation is entirely unique, but there are a few common threads that ran through the discussions about suicide that I have shared with others.

  • People who think about suicide are usually experiencing intense and overwhelming pain.
  • People who think about suicide often feel alone and unheard.

If either of those statements feels true to you, then it might be time to ask for help. If you have found yourself considering suicide on a regular basis, then it is time to ask for help.

Asking for help is so much harder to do when you are struggling than it looks from the outside.

Asking for help doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. It doesn’t mean that you are weak, or broken. Asking for help means that you are in one of the very hard spaces in life. It means that right now, you have more on your plate than you can carry alone. Asking for help means that you care enough for the people who love you to try to get all the support you need. Asking for help is one of the most courageous and caring things that you can do if you have been feeling suicidal.

Not sure what to do? Here are some places to start:

1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

1-800-799-4TTY (4889) Deaf Hotline

Suicide Hotlines resource list–includes state-by-state hotline listings

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Reach out to your local pastor, teacher, a friend, or a therapist near you. If that feels overwhelming, take a deep breath. You can do this. You deserve help, and there are so many of us out here waiting to help when you ask.

P.S. You don’t have to be suicidal to ask for help. It’s an act of courage anytime.

Image Credit: Photo composition by Raymond Teodo via Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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