The stigma behind mental illness is a subject we’re all a little weary to talk about. In part it’s due to a lack of knowledge, but also, it’s a heavy topic in terms of discussion. Suicide in particular is the 10th leading cause of death within the U.S. and the 11th leading cause of death overall in New Jersey. Every so often we’re reminded of this reality—many people on a personal level and others through mass media, like the recent passing of Lincoln Park frontman Chester Bennington.
But the word “prevention” is what we should be focusing on when it comes to suicide specifically and this week, September 10-16, serves as National Suicide Prevention Week. It is a time aimed at raising awareness and to encourage yourself and others to spread the message about bringing an end to suicide.
Elizabeth Roithmayr, New Jersey Area Director with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), explained that their organization takes action by utilizing four core strategies: educating the public, funding scientific research, advocacy work and supporting those affected by suicide with resources and aid.
Easy ways for you at home to get involved in National Suicide Prevention Week are by filtering your social media profile photo, using the hashtag #StopSuicide, buying some merch, having a conversation with your child and/or family member and making sure to take care of yourself and your community.
Next month, Hoboken will be hosting their first-ever “Out of the Darkness” Walk on Sunday, October 29th, at Palmer Lawn on the Stevens Institute of Technology campus. The walk has become one of AFSP’s signature fundraising events in which a portion of the proceeds will go towards helping the city gain access to proper training and local programs for suicide prevention. For more details on how to register or donate, please visit the event website.