Though no one wants to hear the word, it has become all too common in our world today. Therefore, many groups have extended their wisdom to help community members, businesses and schools in educating people to prevent such a horrible situation.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and the Suicide Prevention Council of Roanoke Valley and Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare is promoting mental health wellness. Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 10-16.
They are offering several free virtual training courses: “Talk Saves Lives: Introduction to Suicide Prevention” – Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. “Youth Mental Health First Aid” – Sept. 28 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Those who are interested can sign up at https://bit.ly/SPTRAINING.
These courses help people to learn more about how to reduce suicides in communities and help support someone struggling with their mental health.
“We are also asking businesses/agencies to create and implement a mental health awareness activity,” they shared.
They have toolkits available to help execute this idea and their theme is ‘None can do alone what we can do together.’
“Let’s support one another in fostering positive work environments and making mental health resources available,” they shared. “Sign up today at bit.ly/SPCRVSPweek2023 and enter for a chance to win exposure for your business through paid ads on SPCRV social media pages!”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year-olds and it is estimated that over 48,183 Americans died by suicide in 2021.
“Becoming involved in suicide awareness begins with hope,” they added. “Hope that by becoming aware of the warning signs, one by one the stigma associated with suicide can lessen. And hope that as stigma lessens, the community can strive to make all communities their own. As a united community we can speak hope to those with thoughts of suicide with compassion instead of judgment. We can speak hope to families, friends, and communities that mourn the loss of a loved one.”
There will also be a youth Mental Health First Aid Free Virtual Training Sept. 28 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. One must complete two hours of pre-work to attend the training.
They shared that one in five teens and young adults live with a mental health condition.
They invite people to become a certified mental health first aider (three-year national certification) and learn how to help a youth who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.
“A quarter to a third of our lives will be spent in the workplace. On a daily basis, we will spend more waking hours in our workplace than at home and experience more exchanges with team members than family members,” they explained. “Job satisfaction and levels of productivity depend on workplace culture, work demands, work support, and work rewards.”
For information visit www.brbh.org/suicide-prevention/#campaigns or call 540-982-1427 ext. 5117 or email Sheila at [email protected].
- Think ‘school spirit week.’
- Incorporate the theme “none can do alone what we can do together” in activities.
- Follow SPCRY on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
- Tag @SPYCRY on any posts you make on social media, if possible, as well as submit photos or videos for a chance to win exposure for your business on SPCRY’s social media via boosted posts.
Other ideas they included:
- SPIRIT DAY – where you wear purple or teal for suicide prevention, wear green for mental health awareness. It can be as simple as wearing ribbons!
- SELF-CARE DAY – Have self-care stations at lunch, make positive announcements to start the day, post positive quotes and/or ways to participate in self-care around your business, post tips for self-care on your social media.
- DOOR DECORATING CONTEST – Challenge staff to decorate their doors with positive mental health promotion messages. (Poster contest with positive messages, then post throughout your lobby, breakroom, stall doors, etc.)
- Business-wide ‘pay it forward’ or volunteer event to create an encouragement wall where staff can leave positive messages for one another.
- Set up a table of resources on self-care for your employees bring your pet to work day or have staff post a picture of their pet
- Staff break time with fun food or activity. (donuts, games, etc.) Hand out goody bags with a focus on self-care offer a workshop suggested topics: stress management, healthy eating, time management, etc.
- Offer a free class that would appeal to your staff. (e.g., yoga, fly fishing, painting, woodwork, etc.)
The groups also encourage ways to improve employee mental health:
- Train your managers to promote health and well-being
- Increase employees’ options for where, when, and how they work
- Reexamine health insurance policies with a focus on employee mental health
- Listen to what your employees need and use their feedback to evolve
- Take a critical look at equity, diversity, and inclusion policies
- Include mental health at orientation
- Mark major awareness campaigns on the calendar and celebrate them
- Establish a mental health team
- Train managers regularly
- Senior leadership can model open communication
“America’s mental health is in crisis as close to two thirds of adults (63%) surveyed in APA’s 2022 Stress in America poll said their life has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” BRBH reported. “Worse mental health, lower physical activity, disturbed sleep, and increased reliance on unhealthy habits—all of which have an impact on employees’ health and well-being, the workplace environment, and productivity.”
They added, “Positive and supportive workplace practices, on the other hand, can boost employee physical and psychological health, company morale, and your bottom line. The APA’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey found that people who feel tense or stressed during the workday are more than three times as likely to say they plan to look for another job, while employees who feel supported are more likely to stay, reducing the costs of employee turnover.”
They provide many resources: Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare 24-hour Crisis Line: (540) 981-9351, Referral and Assessment: (540) 343-3007, www.brbh.org, CONNECT: (800) 284-8898 or (540) 981-8181, 24/7 Access and Response Center: (800)541-9992 or (540) 776-1100.