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Suicide prevention in focus for the month of September

News Release

For immediate release: September 10, 2020   (20-167)Spanish

Contact: Linda Waring, Communications, 564-999-0178                       

Suicide prevention in focus for the month of September

OLYMPIA – Everyone has a role in suicide prevention. In observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, the Washington State Department of Health and University of Washington’s Forefront Suicide Prevention have partnered with the state’s Health Care Authority, Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Social and Health Services and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to ask Washingtonians to #BeThe1To help prevent suicide.

Vigilance is especially important this year due to the increased stress, anxiety and depression people may be experiencing with COVID-19. Normalizing conversation around mental health helps break stigma. That’s why we’re asking everyone to be the one to be present, supportive and strong for those who may be going through a difficult time.

Following the LEARN Model Steps can help everyone identify the steps they can take to offer support:

  • Learn to recognize the warning signs.
  • Empathize with the person you’re concerned about and listen to what they say.
  • Ask them if they are thinking about suicide. It’s okay to ask someone directly.
  • And if they say yes, they are, remove the danger – the method they’re thinking of using.
  • Help them with next steps, such as calling or texting a crisis line.

The starting place can be just reaching out to loved ones to show them you care, checking in through a text and simply asking, “How are you?”

“Suicide is preventable, and you don’t need special training,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Everyone can learn to recognize the warning signs, show compassion, offer support, and seek help for themselves if needed.”

“It’s important that students, families, and educators learn the warning signs of suicide and how to offer support,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. “We are ever vigilant, especially as our students may experience more isolation. Providing support and interventions can save lives.”

Look for the hashtags #BeThe1To, #BeThere, and #SPM20 this month on the social media pages of these state partners in suicide prevention. Additional resources offering individual, family, and community support will be shared throughout the month of September.

If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, or if someone you know is in crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or chat online. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For support via text on the Crisis Text Line, start a conversation by texting “HEAL” to 741741.

Additional suicide prevention resources:

Media resources are also available from the Department of Health and Forefront.