September’s Impact

Ceara Milligan
4 min readSep 13, 2023

September holds a unique place in my heart—not just because the atmosphere finally begins to cool and I don’t have to worry about being a sweaty, sticky mess the moment I leave my house or office.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Each year, I’m reminded of the profound impact this observance has had on me personally. It’s a time when we come together to shed light on a topic that often lurks in the shadows, a subject that touches countless lives in ways we may not even realize. For me, September is a month of reflection, empathy, and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of those who struggle with thoughts of suicide.

The significance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month goes beyond the simple act of raising awareness. It signifies a collective effort to tackle one of society’s most challenging and stigmatized issues. Personally, it means a chance to break the silence, to dismantle the barriers that keep people from seeking help, and to erase the shame that surrounds mental health struggles.

I remember the first time I encountered the harsh reality of suicide. It was a close friend who confided in me about their thoughts and feelings, and I realized the immense importance of being there for someone who was struggling. That moment marked the beginning of my personal journey into understanding mental health and suicide prevention.

Throughout September, I’m reminded of the power of conversation. It’s the simple act of listening without judgment, of extending a hand in support, and of letting someone know they are not alone. Every conversation about suicide, every empathetic gesture, can potentially save a life. It’s a reminder to check in on friends and loved ones, even when they seem perfectly fine on the surface. You never truly know what battles they may be fighting internally.

This month serves as a stark reminder of the statistics surrounding suicide. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 800,000 people die by suicide annually, making it undoubtedly a global public health crisis. In the United States alone, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. These numbers are heartbreaking, but they also fuel my determination to be part of the solution.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month also highlights the importance of destigmatizing mental health. Society has come a long way in recent years, but there is still work to be done. Personally, this month is a call to action for me to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about mental health. It’s about educating myself and others, promoting empathy, and creating an environment where seeking help for mental health concerns is seen as a sign of strength, not weakness.

Furthermore, September reminds me of the critical role that community plays in suicide prevention. No one should have to face their struggles alone. It’s about creating a network of support, from friends and family to mental health professionals and helplines. It’s about letting people know that they can reach out for help without fear of judgment.

One aspect of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month that resonates deeply with me is the emphasis on self-care. It’s a reminder that we can’t effectively support others if we’re not taking care of ourselves. For me, this means recognizing when I need to take a step back, practice mindfulness, and prioritize my mental and emotional well-being. It’s about setting boundaries and seeking help when I need it, too.

Another crucial element of this observance is the promotion of resources. There are countless organizations and hotlines dedicated to suicide prevention, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line. These resources offer support, information, and a lifeline for those in crisis. It’s vital to spread awareness of these services so that people know where to turn when they or someone they know is struggling.

In my own life, September is a time when I make an effort to support organizations and initiatives working tirelessly to prevent suicide. Whether it’s volunteering my time, making a donation, or participating in awareness campaigns, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to contribute to the cause.

Ultimately, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month holds a profound meaning for me. It’s a reminder of our shared humanity, of the interconnectedness of our lives, and the power we have to make a positive impact. It’s a month that challenges me to be more compassionate, more understanding, and more proactive in the fight against suicide. It’s a call to be part of a movement that saves lives, one conversation, one act of kindness, at a time.

As September unfolds, I hope that more people will join in this crucial effort. Together, we can break down the barriers surrounding mental health, support those in need, and ultimately reduce the heartbreaking statistics of suicide. For me, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is a time to reflect on the lives we can save and the difference we can make, not just in September but all year.

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