Every September, groups across the country gather to raise awareness of suicide with the lofty goals of ending stigma and ending suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention collects data about suicide in all fifty states to assist. One of the more staggering statistics from Florida is that more than four times as many people died by suicide in Florida than in alcohol related car accidents. Nationally, we know that 54% of Americans have been affected by suicide. You can click on the image to the right to learn more about suicide in every state. Below, there are some good ways to recognize the month and raise awarenesss of suicide within yourself and your community to prevent suicide.
- Storytelling is an important part of suicide awareness. We can learn and find comfort in the experiences of others as well as educate ourselves on the warning signs. Reading can be relaxing and teach us more about suicide prevention. Find all of our related titles here. In particular, we're recommending Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.
- Keeping track of your mental health is vital in suicide prevention. We recommend journaling your thoughts and reading to help cope during these times, like this list we created for helping children cope with anxiety. Something like a thirty-day drawing challenge on Creativebug helps alleviate stress and gives you something to look forward to. Also a gratitude journal can help you keep track of the good in your life.
- Getting outside is another way to support suicide prevention. Alachua County has many parks and preserves to explore as well as the city of Gainesville. Inviting a friend that you haven't checked-in on in a whilie for a (socially-distanced) walk at Depot Park or Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a great way to take action for suicide prevention. The Survivors of Suicide Memory Garden at Cofrin Nature Park is also a beautiful place to visit for meditation and reflection.
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and To Write Love on Her Arms are advocating for all of us to have a #RealConvo with the people we love this month (and every month!). You can read here for some tips on how to have a #RealConvo with your friends and family to help prevent suicide. Sharing your experience on social media is also effective at reducing the stigma around suicide.
- Educating yourself on local resources is imperative to suicide prevention. Locally, we have the Alachua County Crisis Center, University of Florida Counseling & Wellness Center, Meridian Behavorial Healthcare, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The theme this year for National Suicide Prevention Month is "worth living for." Life does not have to be perfect to be good, and, at the library, we hope we can help you find some good in the world through our current services, programming, and collection of books, music, and movies. We're happy that you're here.