05 Sep Suicide Prevention Awareness Week
by Haley Nguyen Sauce, LMSW
Suicide can be a scary topic to talk about, but it is something that should not go undiscussed. Although the majority of adolescents and adults can argue the many different contributing factors of suicide, many cannot talk about the different ways to avoid it.
It is important we highlight more stories of how we can prevent suicide by discussing matters such as healthy coping skills, protective factors, and who we can go to when we are feeling suicidal, and what we can do when someone we love is feeling suicidal.
What are healthy coping skills and protective factors?
- Deep breathing exercises
- Hobbies such as painting, puzzles, and creating
- Physical Activity
- Family Support (biological or logical)
- Involvement in clubs, religious groups, sports, community
We cannot remove the risk factors from someone’s life, but we can always add or be a protective factor for someone. The more protective factors and healthy coping skills we add to our lives produce more resiliency and strength for us to be able to face life’s hardships easier.
Who can we go to when we feel suicidal or what we can do if our loved one is feeling suicidal?
- Talk to a licensed mental health professional.
- Use the suicide hotline number 9-8-8.
- Let someone know such as family, friends, or someone close by.
We should always bring in help when someone is saying or exhibiting signs of suicide. Our loved ones may want this to be kept secret, but suicide should always be shared with someone that can get them help.
What does Next Step Community Solutions do to prevent suicide?
Next Step takes a more upstream approach when it comes to suicide prevention with its program Sources of Strength. This program is an evidence-based suicide prevention model that has been implemented in many states across the United States and in other countries. Next Step is one of the first organizations to bring this program to school campuses in Texas, and we have so far launched the program on 16 middle and high school campuses. Sources of Strength assist our youth by:
- Increasing help-seeking behaviors such as bringing in an adult when a friend is showing signs or is suicidal.
- Increasing healthy attitudes and norms surrounding mental health and suicide.
- Giving students the opportunity to be a part of their own community and amplify their voices.
- Providing Hope, Help, and Strength.
Next Step also have licensed mental health professionals that provide free mental health counseling on over 60 school campuses across East Texas. The counseling services are free to the students, and we help meet families where they are. These services help students receive counseling, tools, and resources at school without the charge, transportation, or missing any core curriculum class. Mental health counseling can help students identify their protective factors and strength while also addressing concerns they may be facing inside or outside of school.
Next Step also has coalitions that work closely with the communities in East Texas to provide an upstream approach to substance abuse and addiction. These coalitions work with schools, law enforcement, and family night meetings to help provide tools and resources as well as preventative messages to avoid misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.
Next Step overall is working diligently in supporting youth and families in mental health with their many programs in school campuses, and their active presence throughout East Texas.