Every September we observe Suicide Prevention Month. It is a time to learn as much as we can about this alarming public health issue—most often related to mental illness. And it is also a time to listen, to offer help, and to eliminate stigmas around suicidal thoughts and seeking support.
Recent statistics suggest that suicide is on the rise among young people ages 15 to 24 years old, as are incidents of suicidal thoughts. Suicide rates are much higher for some population segments such as American Indians/Alaska Natives and rising for others such as young black males. Despite the mental stress from dealing with persistent racism, discrimination and exclusion, young people of color are half as likely than the general population to get the mental health care they need. Mental health services, social support, and connectedness are just a few of the approaches that can help prevent suicide.
At The Steve Fund, we want to provide all young people of color with support resources that help meet these specific needs. That’s why we have partnered with some of the most innovative tech solutions, including:
- Anytime, anywhere, text STEVE to 741741 and a live, trained Crisis Counselor will respond. Whether you’re feeling down, stressed or overwhelmed, this service is specifically designed to help meet the unique needs of young people of color.
- There’s always someone to talk to via our partnership with the 7Cups platform. Young people of color can find support, therapy or simply someone to speak to.
We also want to share a few reminders to help you deal with challenges and thoughts that may weigh heavily on you.
- There is no shame in seeking help for mental health concerns. We often hear messages to stay “strong,” but it is important to be honest with ourselves when we or people we care about are thinking in a self-destructive way. Taking care of ourselves by getting help from a health professional is a priority.
- If it feels important, then it is important. Whether you are listening to someone around you or dealing with your own thoughts, recognize that suicidal thoughts are serious and deserve your attention.
- Listen openly, without judgment. One of the most important ways we can help prevent suicide is by listening, accepting what we hear and showing that we care by helping people get the help they need.
On behalf of everyone at The Steve Fund, I invite you to commemorate Suicide Prevention Month with us by taking the time to listen. You never know when someone may need your help.