September 12, 2023

How to Make an Impact During Suicide Awareness Month

by Lanna Britt

September is Suicide Awareness Month. That simply means it’s a dedicated time for individuals and communities to come together to share stories and resources in an effort to promote action and conversation to prevent suicides. In this blog, we’ll provide some practical steps to make an impact, both large and small, during Suicide Awareness Month. Even if you haven’t been touched by suicide, it’s important all of us be part of the change to lower the shocking statistics surrounding suicide. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.

Educate Yourself

According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US. Tragically, the number of deaths by suicide increased 2.6% from 2021 to 2022. The most recent figures underscore, “the depths of the devastating mental health crisis in America,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said in a recent CDC news release. “Mental health has become the defining public health and societal challenge of our time. Far too many people and their families are suffering and feeling alone.” In hopes of spurring change, they’ve put together five action steps to reach out to someone who may be having thoughts of suicide. This is just a brief overview so please take a few extra minutes to read the full description of each step via the link provided. 

  1. Ask - Asking the question, “Are you thinking about suicide?” opens the lines of communication and dialogue. 
  2. Be There - Increasing someone’s connectedness to others and limiting isolation (both in the short and long-term) has shown to be a protective factor against suicide. 
  3. Help Keep Them Safe - This step is really about showing support for someone during the times when they have thoughts of suicide by putting time and distance between the person and their chosen method, especially methods that have shown higher lethality (like firearms and medications.)
  4. Help Them Connect - Helping someone with thoughts of suicide connect with ongoing supports (like the 988 Lifeline) can help the person establish a safety net for moments when they find themselves in crisis. 
  5. Follow Up - After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing, either in person or via text or a phone call. 

Spread Awareness

Utilize social media platforms to spread awareness. That could mean sharing personal stories of how suicide has impacted you or posting infographics and related articles. Consider using relevant hashtags like #SuicideAwareness or #PreventSuicide to increase visibility. Another way to spread awareness is through organized events. That could mean attending a workshop or even coordinating a webinar or panel discussion through your school or workplace. Collaborate with local organizations and mental health professionals to see how you can contribute to the discussion in a positive way. Another avenue is to engage with your community. Distribute informational pamphlets and resources or even host community discussions to encourage open dialogue about mental health and suicide. 

Support and Empathy

Reach out to individuals who you believe may be at risk of suicide. Talking about suicide or thoughts of suicide can be tricky, but those individuals need a listening ear. Refer to the five action steps shared above to help navigate conversation. Share stories of hope and recovery. Create a safe space for individuals to share their experiences and emotions and encourage them to seek out mental health providers and licensed counselors. Encouraging self-care can be important as well. Some basic self-care techniques from the National Institute of Mental Health include:

  • Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health. 
  • Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. 
  • Make sleep a priority. Stick to a schedule, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. 
  • Try a relaxing activity. Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. 
  • Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much. 
  • Practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of things you are grateful for. Be specific. 
  • Focus on positivity. Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
  • Stay connected. Reach out to your friends or family members who can provide emotional support and practical help.

Suicide Grief

Losing a loved one is difficult under any circumstances, but when suicide is involved it can feel even more catastrophic and overwhelming.Recognize feelings of guilt, anger or confusion and seek support from mental health professionals and/or support groups. Consider therapy or counseling to navigate the complex emotions involved. It’s important to allow yourself to mourn by creating a safe and supportive environment for your emotions. Engage in healthy coping mechanisms such as journaling, creative outlets like painting or gardening as well as exercise. Reach out for support from friends and family.Connect with those around you who understand what you are going through and can be empathetic listeners. Remembrance gifts are a special way to honor a loved one’s legacy. We at Laurelbox strive to offer our customers thoughtfully prepared sympathy gifts that uplift and nourish the soul. The Celebration of Life candle, remembrance jewelry and memorial garden gifts are just a few of the keepsakes that can honor a life lost.


As suicide statistics continue to rise, it’s important we as a society do everything we can to be part of the positive change in prioritizing mental health. National Suicide Awareness Month is a great opportunity to educate yourself, spread awareness, offer support and empathy to those individuals in your circle struggling with mental health, and support a friend who is grieving a loss to suicide. One important note, all of these can and should happen throughout the year, not just during the designated month of September! 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.


Lanna Britt was a national news producer in Washington DC for nearly a decade covering politics, breaking news and current events.  She now lives with her husband and three children in Richmond VA. She has two sweet babies she’ll meet again in heaven.

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