September is a month that holds significance for many reasons, including the changing of seasons and back-to-school preparations. Beyond these, September carries a weighty responsibility, as it is dedicated to Suicide Prevention. During this nationally recognized month, we aim to raise awareness about the critical issue of suicide and its profound impact on individuals, families, and communities. In 2021, 1,219 lives were lost to suicide in Tennessee alone. This heatbreaking statistic underscores the urgency of addressing mental health.
By dedicating a month to this cause, we as a state and country begin to emphasize that suicide is not just a personal tragedy that families and loved ones face, but a societal one that demands our collective attention and effort.
Recognizing the signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors is crucial for effective prevention. Often, individuals who are struggling with their mental health may display subtle indicators that something is wrong. These signs can manifest as:
- withdrawal from social activities
- sudden mood swings
- increased substance use
- giving away their possessions
One of the most impactful actions we can take during this month is to encourage open conversations about mental health with friends and loved ones. Breaking down the barriers of silence and stigma surrounding mental health issues is vital to creating a supportive environment. When someone knows they can talk about their feelings without judgment, it can be a lifeline for them.
It’s important to convey that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a display of strength. Seeking support and professional guidance moves individuals toward recovery. This shift in perspective is pivotal in reducing the stigma associated with mental health.
Cumberland University recognizes the importance of mental health and the role it plays in everyone’s overall well being. The university’s counseling services provide a safe, confidential space where individuals can discuss their mental health openly. Additionally, Cumberland University offers support groups for those who may find solace in connecting with others who share similar experiences. The university also partners with TheraTribe to provide counselors from diverse backgrounds for students to connect with. These resources are free to students, faculty and staff.
At Cumberland, we have an unwavering commitment to fostering a compassionate and supportive campus community. By providing free resources, raising awareness, and encouraging open dialogue, the university plays an active role in suicide prevention efforts. If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to these valuable resources on campus.
The Remembrance Tree in our hometown of Lebanon seeks to remember and honor those we have lost to suicide. The Remembrance Tree stands as a powerful symbol of hope and healing for the community.
It is essential to take action. Here are some practical steps to consider:
National and Local Helplines:
- Cumberland University Counseling Services: Labry Hall 225 or call 615-547-1397 during business hours. If it is after hours, call 615-449-0500, or for an emergency call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
- National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HELLO” to 741741
Participate in Awareness Campaigns: Get involved in awareness campaigns, community events, and fundraising efforts. These activities can help raise funds for mental health organizations and promote understanding within the community.
Offer Support: Remember that your support can make a significant difference in someone’s life. Earnest messages and friendship can go a long way.
A Message of Hope: Let’s work together to create a world where mental health is a priority, and every life is valued and supported. During Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, let us strive to make a lasting, positive impact on mental health and suicide prevention.