Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, more than 44,000 Americans die from suicide, which is an average of almost 120 suicides per day.
As a funeral director, you know all too well the effect suicide has on a family and a community. This September, help shed light on suicide prevention and awareness in your community. We’ve put together a quick reference guide of reading materials and resources that your funeral home can use to become an advocate for suicide prevention.
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September: Suicide Prevention Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month long, mental health advocates, community organizations, survivors, and prevention organizations team up to promote a message of prevention and awareness.
Below are links to resources, events, organizations, and other ideas for how your funeral home can get involved and support suicide prevention this September.
Books About Suicide
- No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One by Carla Fine. Fine shares her personal experience after her husband took his own life. Her book discusses the overwhelming emotions involved when coping with suicide and offers guidance for friends and families who are left behind.
- Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families After a Suicide by Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch. Cobain and Larch offer honest and reassuring advice to help break through the stigma associated with suicide and help those left behind begin healing.
- After a Suicide: An Activity Book for Grieving Kids by the Dougy Center. This book is an interactive workbook that includes drawings, stories, and advice to help young children navigate the loss of a loved one through suicide.
- Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Jamison. Jamison offers a firsthand perspective of what it’s like to struggle with suicidal thoughts. Her book includes a historical look at suicide, personal essays, and her own compassionate advice on how to recognize and help those at risk.
- Survivors of Suicide by Rita Robinson. Survivors of Suicide is a comprehensive book that offers lessons to help survivors understand suicide, how they can cope, and how to help those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Inside, readers also will find research on depression and suicide statistics and a directory to even more online resources.
For more books about suicide prevention or coping after a loss from suicide, click here.
Articles About Suicide
- Left Behind After Suicide, by Harvard Health Publications
- What I Would Have Said to My Friend Who Died By Suicide, by Laura Smith/HuffPost
- Telling Their Heartbreaking Stories About Suicide Loss Started a Powerful Conversation by Colby Itkowitz/Washington Post
- Be the One to Help Save a Life From Suicide by Lisa Firestone/Psychology Today
- Suicide Grief: Healing After a Loved One’s Suicide by the Mayo Clinic
- Supporting Survivors of Suicide Loss: A Guide for Funeral Directors by the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA
- National Suicide Prevention Week Information & Media Kit by the American Association of Suicidology
Suicide Prevention Organizations
Below you’ll find links to suicide prevention organizations. These organizations offer a vast amount of resources, guides, and events to implement in your own community.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- American Association of Suicidology
- Veterans Crisis Line
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
Below are some ideas for getting actively involved within your community. While these are great ways to spread the message about suicide prevention during National Suicide Prevention Week, these ideas also can be used year-round.
- Host a memorial service or candlelight vigil to honor and remember those who have died from suicide.
- Leverage your social media presence to promote awareness and share prevention resources. Feel free to share this article and any resources above. Here are some active hashtags to use when sharing on social media: #SuicidePrevention, #StigmaFree, #StopSuicide, #BeThere, #BeThe1To.
- Launch a community fundraiser and donate to one of the prevention organizations listed above. Or, donate to your local crisis center.
- Invite a local counselor to give an educational seminar on either suicide prevention or coping after a loss. Or, help organize a group to attend an event such as the Out of Darkness Walks, Ride to Fight Suicide, Tour for Hope, or Hike for Hope. Click here to find your local American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chapter and see how your funeral home can get involved.
- Keep your funeral home stocked with informational brochures, grief guides, and other helpful resources. Click here to download awareness logos or to order brochures and materials from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Is your funeral home participating in National Suicide Prevention Month? Share your story with us in the comments below!