Suicide Prevention Awareness Week Recap: Shedding light on the suicide crisis in Springfield

By: Springfield-Greene County Health

Suicide Prevention Awareness Week has a long history of shedding light on the crisis of suicide in the U.S. and across the world through education and advocacy. Although suicide is still often treated as a taboo topic, it is a public health issue in many communities, including Springfield.

A part of addressing and raising awareness about a public health issue includes educating the community about the topic. Over the last week, the Health Department shared vital information to the public about local statistics, prevention methods and how to help those close to you who may be thinking of suicide.

Helping someone who may be suicidal is a delicate situation to be in. Someone who may be considering suicide is often in an emotionally heightened situation or is struggling to cope with things happening in their life. Sometimes, suicide is seen as the only option to a person even if they hadn’t been openly or even silently struggling for a long time.

This is why Springfield-Greene County Health focused on the Take 5 to Save Lives created by the National Council for Suicide Prevention.

Day One: Tuesday kicked off the week due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 5. View the press release here, which includes local statistics: https://health.springfieldmo.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=9583

Day Two: Posts on this day were focused on Step 1 and 2 in the Take 5 to Save Lives initiative. Step 1 included learning the warning signs, risk factors, and protective factors of suicide to better prepare someone on how to take action and help save a life. Step 2 focused on how to find help and support for yourself and others who may be thinking of suicide.

Day Three: Thursday was all about action, advocacy, and learning how to talk about suicide safely and responsibly. Action by community members play a big part in the mission to prevent suicides, like getting locally involved in suicide prevention and mental health nonprofits.

Additionally, changing the way we talk about suicide is important. How we broach this topic has a lasting impression on those around us — the same people who could be struggling or on the verge of planning to end their life. Learning how to speak to others and about suicide responsibly is the goal of Step 4 in the Take 5 to Save Lives initiative.

A list of local organizations that offer opportunities to learn, advocate, or volunteer to help others was provided to the public:

· NAMI of Southwest Missouri (https://namiswmo.org/get-involved/ )

· Community Partnership of the Ozarks (Youth Mental Health and Adult Mental Health First Aid Training: https://cpozarks.org/programs/mental-health/…)

· Ozarks Counseling Center (Donate or sponsor a fundraising event: http://ozarkscounselingcenter.org)

· Join the Burrell Behavioral Health Be Well Community through weekly connections and resources (https://burrellcenter.com/bewellcommunity)

Day Four: The week of Suicide Prevention Awareness leads to World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, Sept. 10. Friday focused on wrapping up the week with additional local statistics, including suicide being the 7th leading cause of death in our community.

Although the week has ended, a list of resources is always available on our website at sgfmentalhealth.com. If you are in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

We are here with you as we face this crisis.

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