#BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Week — Sept. 9–15 — and beyond, spreading the word about actions we can all take to help prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope.
The national #Bethe1to campaign highlights five actions people can take to help prevent suicide:
1. Be the one to ask. Ask the tough question. When somebody you know shows warning signs, ask them directly: ‘Are you thinking about killing yourself?’ Take an online screening at helpyourselfhelpothers.org.
2. Be the one to keep them safe. Do they have access to medications, firearms, or other means of suicide? Ask if they’ve thought about how they would do it, and separate them from anything they could use to hurt themselves.
3. Be the one to be there. People thinking about suicide can feel a burden to their loved ones. If your friend is thinking about suicide, listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless and in pain. Listen with compassion and empathy without judgment. Now Matters Now at nowmattersnow.org/skill/suicidal-thoughts has videos of people who have experienced suicidal thoughts [sharing] what individuals can do to help manage those thoughts.
4. Be the one to help them connect. Help your friend connect to a support system, whether it’s 800-273-TALK (8255), the crisis text line (text ‘HEAL’ to 741741), family, friends, faith-based leaders, coaches, co-workers, health care professionals, or therapists, so they have a network to reach out to for help. 2-1-1’s online database at win211.org/search is another way to find local resources.
5. Be the one to follow up. Check in with the person you care about on a regular basis. Making contact with a friend in the days and weeks after a crisis can make a difference in keeping them alive. Send a caring contact through zerosuicide.sprc.org. This could be a phone call, text, email, or letter.
If you want to connect with someone anonymously, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, chat suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat, or text ‘HEAL’ to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor.
Image courtesy of National Suicide Prevention Lifeline