CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This month serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding the grief and trauma that can accompany the loss of a loved one to suicide, and the process of healing for those affected.
The month of September was first recognized as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in 2008. It has been a tradition since then to recognize those who have experienced suicide, raise awareness, and connect those who have suicidal ideation with treatment services.
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 41,000 individuals die by suicide each year, leaving behind friends and family members to cope with the grief of their loss. Experts say it’s important to provide a safe space for those affected to talk openly and honestly about their experiences and offer help and support. Seeking out professional help can also be beneficial for processing and healing. Acknowledging and validating the emotions of someone who has lost someone to suicide is essential to their healing process.
According to Beyond Blue, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are the commonly considered stages of grief. The Beyond Blue website recommends that you don’t expect too much of yourself in the early stages of grief. Instead, remember:
- You may grieve in any way you choose, as long as you give yourself and others permission to do so.
- If you feel you aren’t coping, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend, family member, or grief support service.
- Grieving has no time limit – it can last for a short time or for a long time. There can be a sense that it’s finished, but then it returns.
In the U.S., suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for adults and the 2nd for people aged 10-24, and these rates are on the rise. Those affected by suicide can experience a range of emotions, from guilt, shame, and anger, to relief, confusion, and denial. According to a national poll conducted by the Action Alliance and partners in 2022, 94 percent of adults in the U.S. believe that suicide can be prevented at least some of the time, and 96% of adults believe they would act if someone close to them considered suicide.
If you or your loved ones have talked about inflicting self-harm, display extreme mood swings, talk about feeling hopeless or trapped, seek help immediately.
You can do that by calling the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can chat with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org. On the Crisis Text Line, you can contact a free, trained crisis counselor by texting NAMI to 741-741.