September marks Suicide Prevention Month

Mental health counselor encourages education, awareness

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Ava Amos

Mental health counselor Mrs. Sarah Ehlich offered advice to students for dealing with grief.

Ellie Schnur , Reporter

September has arrived, igniting an excitement for pumpkin spice lattes, Friday night lights (with appropriate social distancing) and the official beginning of fall. For many, September is appreciated as the final farewell to summer and an open door to changing leaves.

But September is also recognized as Suicide Prevention Month. Mental health counselor Ms. Sarah Ehlich encourages everyone to raise awareness, shatter stigmas and educate oneself during this time. 

Ehlich said that she is passionate about normalizing discussions of suicide and strengthening the support system of the school.

Participation in the ongoing fight against suicide begins initially with recognizing the warning signs in family and friends. Ehlich placed an emphasis on social withdrawal, urging people to pay attention when a person close to them is “constantly saying no or staying home.” Other early signs of suicidal intentions provided by Ehlich include irritability, hopelessness, personality changes and careless comments such as “What’s the point?” and “Nobody cares.” 

Having noticed any or all of these signs in a friend or family member, the next step is to talk to them about it. Ehlich said to validate the vulnerability of expressing feelings, ask the uncomfortable questions and display love and support. Ehlich added that there is value in checking up on those around you, and this month is an especially fitting time to do so.

From here, if the individual at risk is still struggling, there becomes a need to tell a trusted adult. Come to Ehlich, any of the school counselors, trusted teachers or adults whenever you feel as if your help is no longer enough to support the person at risk.

Throughout the rest of September, conversations about suicide need to increase rather than die down. Ehlich defined the raising of suicide awareness as “having conversations and normalizing mental health.” The most important stigma to reject is that mental health is equivalent to mental illness, as this falsity often discourages individuals from expressing mental weakness. 

This Suicide Prevention Month, take the time to learn about suicide, engage in meaningful conversations and show a little extra support to those around you.