In September Learn to #BeThe1To

Be the one to logoFind out how to take REAL and EFFECTIVE actions to prevent suicide

It is no secret that America has been met head-on with an unprecedented mental illness epidemic. The Covid-19 pandemic, isolation from support systems, jobs, hobbies, financial burden, grief, and insufficient resources, have all caused mental health crises to rise as we have never seen before.

Even without the pandemic, from the years 1999-2016, we saw America’s suicide rates rise by 25%. Despite the majority of Americans being aware of the crisis with mental illness, it is still stigmatized, belittled, and ignored by many. In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, we are sharing methods to not only prevent suicide but how to implement small habits into our interactions with people that will make a big difference.According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

988 is available to help

The new National Suicide Prevention lifeline changed its phone number to 988 in an effort to create a memorable, easy-to-dial phone number that can route callers to their local crisis and prevention centers. Not only this, but 988 also allows for text messaging, and online chat, and will find a crisis counselor that can speak to you in your language. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing are asked to use their preferred relay service, or dial 711 then 988.


“What can we do? Does anything actually work?”

“I’m scared I’ll make it worse!”

“I’m too overwhelmed, and I feel guilty.”

“I don’t understand what they are going through.”

If you’ve thought of any of these things, that’s okay! It’s normal to feel helpless, or confused when it comes to suicide. That is why suicide prevention work is so important.

In honor of #SuicidePreventionMonth, we are sharing the #BeThe1To steps that include, Ask, Be There, Keep them Safe, Help stay Connected, and Follow up. Please take some time to read the below and help us create conversations around suicide prevention, in an effort to help equip us all with the tools to help those around us.

Be the one to ask

“I’m scared I’ll make it worse!” 

This is a very normal fear to have. Sometimes it feels safer just leaving someone be than getting involved at the risk of heightening a situation. However, when it comes to suicide prevention, we want to encourage you to reach out. Step #1 in 988’s 5-step model of prevention begins with “Ask.” Even in the moments where you like speaking up won’t do anything, we want you to ask! Studies have shown that those who have thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way, and asking has also been shown to reduce suicidal thoughts.

Be the one to be there

“What can we do? Does anything actually work?”

Many people feel that not a lot of suicide prevention helps people. This could not be further from the truth. Step #2 is something we all can do when we are aware of mental health struggles or changes in the behavior of those around us, is “Be There.” Speaking to someone who is willing to listen without judgment is one of the most effective ways to support someone who is suicidal and holds space for them. Even when you don’t know what to say, listening goes a long way.

Be the one to keep them safe

“I’m too overwhelmed, and I feel guilty.”

When supporting those in our lives who are struggling with mental illness and suicidal thoughts, it can be hard to care for our own minds in a healthy way. This is why it is always important to have more than one person aware of the situation, and able to hold space for them as well. Step #3 is a simple way to help get the social circle around that person on board in helping, “Keep them Safe.” Although this step seems like a given, making lethal means less available, and guiding friends, family members, coworkers, and so on to make the spaces that person occupies as safe as possible can help suicide rates decline.

Be the one to help them connect

“I don’t understand what they are going through.”

Having someone around who has felt the unique feeling that you are going through is incredibly beneficial to communicating what you are experiencing. But, if you have never felt suicidal or aren’t familiar with that thought process, it’s okay. What you can do through Step #4 is “Help them Stay Connected”. If you feel confident in helping someone who is suicidal, or you have no idea what to do, helping others stay connected is a wonderful way to gain support. Helping someone at risk create a network of resources, and support can help that person to take action and reduce their overall feelings of hopelessness.

Be the one to follow up

Finally, Step #5 is “Follow Up.”

Supportive ongoing contact is extremely beneficial, especially if the person has had a recent discharge from a mental health program or facility. Even if you just send a quick message to that person, maintaining communication to avoid isolation is vital. Recap! The 5 Steps of how #ToBeThe1To are, Ask, Be There, Keep them Safe, Help stay Connected, and Follow up. Let’s continue the conversation around suicide prevention, in an effort to keep us all feeling equipped with the tools to help those around us. 

Recent Posts
Healthy Kids Back-to-School Checklistseptember is healthy aging month