Let’s talk about mental health: Prevention and awareness


Candice Mayfield

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and resources like the one pictured play a key part in the prevention of rising rates of suicide in the public health crisis. Photo courtesy of suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

*Trigger warning* 

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations. 

Anthony Bourdain, Avicii, Kate Spade, Kurt Cobain and Robin Williams are big names in the arts and entertainment scene with a disheartening commonality: death by suicide.

I also do feel I have things to live for; There have been times, honestly, in my life that I figured, ‘I’ve had a good run — why not just do this stupid thing, this selfish thing … jump off a cliff into water of indeterminate depth,” said late celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain.

Bourdain is one of many celebrity deaths by suicide. However, this is a prominent public health issue that affects both celebrities and non-celebrities alike.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which aims to bring attention to the taboo topic and provide resources for those in need. National Suicide Awareness Week is a nationally recognized observation within the month. This year, the commemoration is Sept. 6 through 12.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2018 Data & Statistics Fatal Injury reports, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. The statistics also show there were 1.4 million nonfatal attempts and 48,344 completed.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are credible resources for people to kick-start these tough conversations.

Ways to get involved

There are numerous ways to get involved in the much-needed push for prevention. Due to COVID-19, many events went virtual and makes it easier than ever to take preventative actions in the comfort of your own home.

Omaha’s 16th Annual Out of the Darkness Fight to Stop Suicide virtual Event.

Nebraska AFSP virtual silent auctions.

Follow #keepgoing on Twitter for various live streams throughout the week.

AFSP Nebraska chapter meetings.

You can also find all of the calendar details and more events on the AFSP website or on their Facebook page.


Resources are a critical part of tackling the strenuous topic of suicide. When people are provided with the skills and tools necessary, it starts a #RealConvo and helps in the fight to #StopSuicide.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

CDC Suicide Prevention Information

Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741

International Association for Suicide Prevention

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration