Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. As a volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) I encourage everyone to get involved whether you have been affected by suicide or not. As the Surgeon General said, "Preventing suicide is everyone's business."
So what can you do? Learning how to recognize warning signs and risk factors such as depression, changes in behavior and increased use of drugs or alcohol are critical. Take any threats of suicide seriously. Talk about it. It is a myth that asking someone about suicide will put the "idea in their head." If you are worried about someone, asking them if they are thinking about suicide can save a life. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) if you or someone you know is in crisis.
Lastly, participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks on Sept. 21 in Baltimore and Oct. 5 in Columbia. The walks support AFSP's mission towards creating a world without suicide through funding research, education and advocacy programs. Visit outofthedarkness.org to register.