September is National Suicide Prevention Month — something I am very passionate about. I am a psychology major and have decided to be in this field of study to help those struggling with mental health disorders. I, myself, have struggled with anxiety and continue to meet many individuals who are fighting the battle against mental illness.
Often, suicidal thoughts stem from mental illness. People who experience suicidal thoughts may feel like they are completely alone. They think no one understands, no one knows how they feel and no one can help them. It is an ugly idea that we feed ourselves when, in reality, many feel and think this way. Negative thinking is one of the most dangerous ways people occupy their time. Almost 80% of our thoughts are negative. As humans, we do not want to forget the past, but most of the time, the past brings sadness and pain. I never want others to fight suicidal thoughts alone.
People often focus on their physical health. They exercise, eat right and take care of their bodies in many ways. But taking care of your mental health is just as important and should never be overlooked. When you feel mentally drained, it is helpful to do hobbies you enjoy or focus on your faith. These things can help bring about peace and comfort. Reading, talking with a friend, praying, meditating, painting and watching your favorite movie are just a few great ways to recharge.
As a society, we must normalize the topic of mental health and look for ways to treat it and educate people about it. National Suicide Prevention Month is a great platform to bring such awareness. We must learn to accept the reality that suicide happens, but also learn the steps to prevent it. Struggling with mental challenges is very common. Whether it is overwhelming suicidal thoughts, social anxiety or clinical depression, many deal with mental health problems. There are many types and degrees of mental disorders. Being aware of mental disorders and their characteristics help us gain insight of what others go through every day. I realized that I simply do not know what each person is dealing with and what is going on in their mind and in their life. This has helped me be intentional and act with kindness and compassion toward those around me.
One thing to remember — if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts — is that it’s just a moment in time; a second, a minute, an hour, a day or week. These are all small moments when you think of an entire lifetime, and they will pass. Your struggles do not define you or the life you are meant to live. Remember to seek help in that moment. Some resources include: the counseling center on campus, professional counseling services, talking to a trusted adult or friend, or even a stranger on the other end of a phone. If you need immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-(800)-273-8255. It is very crucial to remember there are people out there who can help. You will never be alone.