September is best known as the first month of school, but it’s also known as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
As we move into October and inch closer to Fall Reading Week, many students and faculty alike are still unaware that Suicide Prevention Awareness Month even happened.
It’s often said that we all know someone who has committed suicide or has had thoughts of it. However, suicide is still not being discussed enough, even if it has an awareness month.
Losing someone, no matter how close or far, to suicide is simply awful and is incredibly difficult to live with every day after the fact.
For people that have lost someone to suicide, they will almost certainly remember when they last saw that person, the final words they said to that person and they’ll likely remember exactly where they were when they found out the person had taken their life. More importantly, people who lose someone close to them to suicide often live the rest of their life thinking of the individual at least once every day.
It may be October now and the awareness month is over, but it shouldn’t just be a 30 day thing like so many of these “month” events. Especially when no awareness was made during those 30 days of September.
As one of the universities with a Fall Reading Week, we at Brock tend to forget what the week off is about. It’s a time to get away from school, to de-stress and recompose yourself ahead of midterms.
The week isn’t treated that way as we are handed assignments and have to study for midterms approaching. However, school work and stress doesn’t necessarily correlate with suicide.
It could be family issues, bullying, financial problems and much more that brings suicidal thoughts to an individual.
People who have the thoughts are unlikely to speak up. The person beside you could currently be having the thoughts right now, but you wouldn’t know it and you aren’t expected to judge or think that way.
Late in September, I began to see Facebook status’ mentioning that it was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. People were asked to copy and paste a long paragraph to try and bring the awareness, but just like any other issue and concern, this goes beyond a Facebook status. It also goes beyond any words written on a page, as many articles have been written by survivors of suicide and people impacted by suicide.
Raising awareness doesn’t come easily and neither does finding a solution.
All that can be said is to be aware of the people around you. Be respectful of the people around you.
Personally I can’t speak to the people that have had thoughts of suicide. I can, however, relate to the ones that have lost someone close: as tough as it is, it does get easier.
As students, don’t let assignments and midterms get the best of you. A grade doesn’t make or break you. Although we all want to pass with high honours, university is about the experience and the connections we make – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month has passed, but the thoughts of those we have lost haven’t. So let’s work together to hold each other up and live life to its fullest.