Some parts of our lives may have been slower during the past few weeks, but suicide prevention work continues to march on. This is work that we can never be lackadaisical about and many people are finding ways to continue, even when not face-to-face.
Because so many people have been working from home, doing school from home and being more isolated than usual, it’s not as easy to look out for each other. However, with the stresses of life, especially now, it’s time to reach out, ask questions and listen.
Just last week, a three-year campaign was kicked off as a statewide effort in Utah. “Live On” is designed to provide resources, education and open up conversations about suicide. The campaign includes a website, liveonutah.org, that shows ways to get help, highlights coping skills, lists things to do when having suicidal thoughts and provides information about suicide warning signs, support groups for family members, training opportunities and other events.
The website is full of information for those who are struggling, for their friends and family members and for all of us who can learn what to watch for and how to help. There is also information specifically for veterans and for those who have made a suicide attempt. The purpose of the website? To offer hope and to make sure that we all live on.
During the weeks of social distancing, there have not been opportunities for meeting in groups to be trained in suicide prevention. But, people are finding ways to continue the work. One example is Tamara Oborn, prevention program coordinator of PG Cares (Pleasant Grove Cares.) Oborn has been conducting free QPR (Question Persuade Refer) trainings virtually. This way people can learn suicide prevention skills without leaving their homes. PG Cares is part of the Communities that Care Coalition. For more information about the virtual trainings, check out PG Cares on Facebook and Instagram.
Students spreading hope
While kids have been out of school, the Hope Squad members at schools all over the country are continuing to spread hope. Hope Squads is a suicide prevention program in elementary, junior high and high schools.
On the Hope Squad National Council’s Instagram account, a Hope Moments campaign has been ongoing for several weeks. Every Monday, students share what has brought them hope and joy throughout the week. Other schools and students have been encouraged to participate.
Other Hope Squads have been sharing messages on their own social media pages, hoping that students will see the messages and hold on to hope, reach out and talk to someone, if needed.
The weeks of social distancing were a good reminder that we may not see, on a daily basis, those who need our help. There are ways to reach out a hand, even if not in person.
Help is always available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-HELP (8255.)