Boroughs raise suicide awareness for Suicide Prevention Month
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and all five boroughs will be raising awareness over the next few weeks as residents participate in walks.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, nearly 40,000 people take their own lives each year. Chief Medical Officer of AFSP Christine Moutier says that amounts to about 108 people every day.
Moutier says the best way to reduce that number is to better understand the factors surrounding suicide, including occupation, culture and mental health. She says many times mental health problems can be chronic and require ongoing management. "It's about staying on top of it," she says.
If you suspect someone is struggling, the AFSP suggests starting an open-ended conversation. The AFSP says getting someone talking or sharing is the first step for anyone to realize stress or struggle is a part of life. You can also ask them if they are thinking of hurting themselves or ending their life.
There are also several ways to get professional help. Moutier suggests going to the person's primary care physician or straight to a mental health provider.
In order to tell if someone is struggling, the AFSP says to pay attention to their mood and behavior. If their mood changes or you have any reason to believe that they are desperate or helpless, talk to them. Moutier says make sure they are taking care of themselves-- the basics of staying mentally healthy begin with getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right and maintaining healthy relationships.
You can help raise awareness for suicide in the borough by taking part in prevention walks. There is an "Out of the Darkness" walk that takes place on Oct. 5 in Van Cortlandt Park.