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Reaching Out @ the Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention

by RO_Meredith Suicide

In today's guest post, ReachOut Council member Brandon shares a powerful story of speaking out, taking action and rallying around the important cause of suicide prevention.  Check it out and be sure to read his bio at the end of the post.

Suicide prevention has always been close to my heart because of my own personal struggles, but also because of the loss of my sister. Last month, I took my suicide prevention and mental health advocacy to the next level. On June 1-2, I participated in the Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention by the AFSP. I planned to make this trip and journey with my dad back in April and through April and May I campaigned to my family, friends, and colleagues about how important suicide prevention and mental health awareness were. By making a video and also by spreading my message by word of mouth I was able to raise more than I ever thought I could totaling just over $2,000.

When the time came for my dad and I to head to Washington, D.C. the actual event was possibly the most enlightening experience of my life. With just over 1,500 people in attendance from around the country and world, I was able to see mass advocacy in a whole new light.  The event offered time for grieving, reflection, and empowerment. We were also challenged to empower others and spread the word of how important mental health is. One of the most unique experiences during my experience was the honor beads that everyone collected. Each color reflected a different loss. When walking through the national mall, it was pretty powerful to look around and see how many people were wearing beads and how suicide affects so many people.

One of the main things that I gained from this experience was that suicide is something that needs to be talked about. Many times after someone completes suicide, the surviors (those directly affected by the loss) don't talk about it for many different reasons. Some may feel some guilt because they feel they could have done something to prevent the tragedy that rocked their world or they just have so many questions and feel overwhelmed. It was reinforced to us that night that it is okay to talk about it. It's perfectly healthy and that's actually what our county needs. Dialogue needs to be had in order for things to change. We need to speak up.

My mission in life is work towards a world where suicide doesn't exist. You can join me in that mission. One of the easiest ways to get involved is to share. Share your stories, share this article or ReachOut, or just share your care for the cause. It all starts with a conversation and that can be started by you.

Another way to get involved is to volunteer. Whether in person or online, volunteering can be a lot easier than you think and the benefits of your generosity of service are immeasurable. Together we can make a difference and save lives.

For more information, check out these fact sheets
When someone takes their own life: how you might feel
When your friend is talking about suicide
What to when your friend is distressed

About Brandon

brandonHey there, my name is Brandon Rohlwing. I am 19 years old and am currently a first year undergrad student at Roosevelt University.  Living in heart of Chicago, I am pursuing two degrees: Sociology and Business. When I graduated I want to follow my passion by working in the nonprofit industry; specifically in the area of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. When I am not occupied with my schoolwork, I can be found exploring the city or hanging out with my friends. My current obsessions include Doctor Who, One Direction, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is my third year with Inspire and I look forward to continuing to help those who are going through struggles just like I have, and helping them realize: I’ve been there. I’ve made it through. And I am now stronger than I ever thought I was before."

ReachOut Celebrates National Suicide Prevention Month

by RO_Meredith Suicide

World Suicide Prevention DayThis week marked the 10th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, hosted by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health.The theme this year was “Suicide Prevention across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope", with a focus on the efforts of leading organizations, communities and individuals around the world who are working to raise awareness that suicide is preventable and that lives can be saved. Inspire USA is proud to be part of an international network working towards those goals along with Inspire Australia and Inspire Ireland.  

The call to action for this year -- strengthening protective factors and instilling hope -- drives home the important work young people like you have helped us do with ReachOut.com in the U.S.  Since our launch in March 2010, we have connected with over 1 million teens and young adults across the United States, providing them with critical information on how to cope and get through tough times at home and at school. As of today, more than 1,300 teens and young adults have shared their own personal stories to show that even in life’s most difficult moments, things can get better.

In the spirit of World Suicide Prevention Week, we'd like to celebrate our readers, contributors and forum members for helping us build a community that supports help-seeking behaviors. You should know that your voices carry and your message is powerful. While the factors that contribute to suicide are complex, research has shown that recognition and early intervention are key to prevention. This is why we work so hard to promote fact sheets with suggestions for talking to someone who is feeling suicidal, and what you can do to get help now. The warning signs can be subtle but noticeable enough to speak out and encourage someone to get help, and we want you to be empowered to do so.

Below, you can find even more resources for recognizing signs of distress in yourself or others and steps for reaching out to those in need.  And if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, you can always call the 24-hour hotline hosted by National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

What will you do to support Suicide Awareness Month? Have you ever found yourself wondering how to help someone in distress? Share in comments.

Suicide warning signs
Wanting to end your life
What to do when your friend is distressed
Listening to a friend who needs you
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Lifeline, SAMHSA and ReachOut Want You To Know “You Matter”

by RO_Meredith Suicide

YouMatterAdYou Matter. This powerful message is at the heart and forefront of a new online campaign launched by The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to build awareness and trust in suicide prevention services among young adults.

ReachOut is proud to be among the partners supporting this worthy joint effort to provide young people in emotional distress with a safe online space to connect with the Lifeline, see messages of hope from their peers, and learn more about the free confidential crisis counseling services provided by Lifeline. These services are available 24/7 by phone at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and online by chat Monday through Friday from 5 p.m.to 1 a.m. EST. You can check out more about "How it Works" here.

Along with a dedicated You Matter website offering important information on how to get help and spot the warning signs of a suicidal crisis, the campaign will spread the hopeful word through FacebookTwitter , and Tumblr as well as through partners like us.

The  goal of the You Matter campaign aligns closely with the mission of ReachOut: to show young people that suicide is preventable. No matter what you are battling, there are steps you can take and resources you can seek out to help yourself, family members, or friends get through tough situations. Ultimately, as the Lifeline’s Project Director John Draper, Ph.D. said, “We want to empower young adults to ask for help when they need it.”

For more information on warning signs and steps to help prevent suicide, see these fact sheets:

Suicide warning signs
Wanting to end your life
When your friend is talking about suicide
What to do when your friend is distressed