September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to help erase the stigma attached to talking about suicide and offering support to those around us. The month is also being celebrated as Self-Care September. Highlighting the importance of caring for physical and emotional well-being is necessary given the pressures in life that may lead to neglecting basic self-care.
Counselor Yunetta Spring recently joined the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” to talk more about Suicide Awareness Month and the importance of self-care. As Spring says, self-care is more than massages and pedicures, it’s literally taking care of yourself. From eating breakfast to getting a good night’s sleep, self-care can help improve your mental state and overall well-being.
“I think it’s really important for us to talk about self-care during this month because mental illness is the leading risk factor for suicide and poor self-care is directly connected to the state of our mental health and mental illness,” Spring said. “When we look at suicide, we also are looking at mental health issues. We’re also looking at depression, and this can be triggered by several factors we have chemical imbalances, we have medical conditions, we have traumatic life events, and we have genetics. Some of us are predisposed for depression.”
She also explained the Brain called the amygdala and its role in managing responses to external emotional stimuli. According to Spring, people who experience depression can have physiological issues that contribute to their overall state of being.
Health and wellness expert, Maria More, shared her observations from watching her son seek out therapy. She said that his therapist recommended he re-establish a simple routine that included eating breakfast in the morning.
“People think, ‘Oh well, that’s something so small, and that’s so well you need to set a new goal, and you need to do this and that,'” More said. “And sometimes people think the solution is to do more or to like figure out what is the source of my depression, but sometimes you just need to eat, or you just need to rest.”
Suicide awareness is important to support Black people of all ages. According to the Black Mental Health Alliance, the suicide rate of Black children 5-12 has increased 30% in the past 15 years. Increasing opportunities and spaces for conversations about mental health and overall well-being help break through the negative perceptions some people have about mental health and suicide.
Rheeda Walker, professor of psychology and director of the University of Houston’s Culture, Risk and Resilience Lab, previously called suicide a “preventable public health problem.”
“Over the last decade, suicide rates in the United States have increased dramatically among racial and ethnic minorities, and Black Americans in particular,” Walker said. “Suicide deaths occur across the lifespan and have increased for Black youth, but the highest rate of death is among Black Americans aged 25-34 years of age.”
A new crisis hotline rolled out this summer. Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the 988 Suicide Crisis & Crisis Lifeline makes it easy for people needing assistance to reach real-time support. Simply dialing or texting 988 connects people with immediate support.
If you or a loved one needs assistance, call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Listen to the full conversation below:
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