At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that our alumni and weekly readers are getting involved with National Recovery Month. Anything that encourages personal recovery is beneficial to the nation. We can all make a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness.
Beyond National Recovery Month events and activities, there is another observance occurring this month. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! At this time, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling upon Americans to confront stigma and help to encourage treatment for mental illness.
One in five adults is affected by mental illness which means toxic stigmas impact the same number of people. That is 46.6 million adults, and many are needlessly suffering in silence because of their disease. No other group of people affected by medical conditions is subjected to the kind of shame that men and women with mental illness face daily.
Stigma stands in the way of treatment; fortunately, we can work together to cure stigma and inspire recovery. We can all help NAMI get the word out about mental illness and the effective treatments available. Each of us can spread the message that mental health disorders do not have to end in suicide and that healing is possible.
Supporting People with Mental Health Conditions
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to NAMI. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. Moreover, psychological autopsies show that up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental health condition. Alcohol and substance use disorders are types of mental illness that often play a role in suicide.
In 2016, approximately 22 percent of deaths by suicide involved alcohol intoxication, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At the same time, research shows that:
- Opioids were present in 20 percent of suicide deaths.
- Marijuana in 10.2 percent.
- Cocaine in 4.6 percent.
- Amphetamines in 3.4 percent.
Previous research indicates that alcohol misuse or dependence is associated with a suicide risk that is ten times greater than the general population, SAMHSA reports. IV drug users are at about 14 times greater risk for suicide.
Suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable; people dealing with mental illnesses of any kind can recover with effective care. However, under half of the adults in America get the help they need. We can change that by confronting stigma and compassionately encouraging men and women to reach out for help.
Individuals in recovery – especially those who have dealt with suicidal ideations – can play an essential role during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. NAMI is asking such people to share their experience. Two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression exist that allow you to share anonymously—You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk.
“You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspective. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.”
Seeking Help During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Naturally, there are several ways you can help during this vital observance. NAMI has created graphics and promotional messaging to share facts about mental illness and suicide. Please promote awareness on your website and social media accounts using #SuicidePrevention or #StigmaFree.
Please contact HVRC if you are struggling with mental illness, including addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our team of experienced clinicians can help you break the disease cycle and teach you healthy ways of coping with symptoms. We can get you on the road to long-term recovery. Take the first step…during Suicide Prevention Awareness and National Recovery Month.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.