September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, and though it's a sensitive topic I want to take the chance to increase awareness and hopefully contribute to improving the mental health of at least someone. Suicide is, after all, a more common cause of death than many of the things I've mentioned in this column. The CDC found suicide to be the tenth leading cause of death in persons in the U.S. over ten years of age, accounting for 36,891 deaths in 2009. According to other sources suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults. That's more than homicide, septicemia, hepatitis, HIV, and a multitude of other causes of death you might think more common. What I'm saying is, let's talk about it and hopefully help some people and save some lives.
Today I learned about an organization, ReachOut.com, which is "an information and support service using evidence based principles and technology to help teens and young adults facing tough times and struggling with mental health issues." They provide support for an array of mental health issues including:
- Becoming Independent
- Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
- Eating Issues
- Family Relationships
- Loss and Grief
- Maintaining Good Health
- Romance, Sexuality, and Pregnancy
- School Pressures
- Self Harm
- Violence and Sexual Assault
Reach Out provides many resources including:
- Empowering information about specific mental health issues
- Immediate judgement-free support through online peer forums, text messaging, and telephone
- Personal stories from those who have needed help with mental health
- Help finding more mental health resources
Reach Out is a program of the Inspire Foundation, which was founded in Australia in 1992 by Jack Heath, after his cousin ended his own life. Heath wanted to use the media commonly used by youth and young adults to connect them with mental health resources, and by doing so improve the mental health and quality of life of others, and hopefully save lives by preventing suicide. In 1998 the Australian Reach Out web site was created. In 2006 Heath decided to try to bring the Inspire Foundation to the United States, finding that it was horribly needed. He was successful in establishing the U.S. branch and launching the U.S. Reach Out website in 2010. Since then the program has steadily grown through the help of many.
You can get involved and help people through Reach Out in many ways. You can log-in to their online forums and share your own stories. You can help with fundraising. You can share the website with your own mental health professionals and tell them about your experiences, so they have another resource to help their patients. There are many things you can do that all have the potential to make a difference. Go to ReachOut.com to find out more.
You also find Reach Out on:
Twitter https://twitter.com/reachoutinusa - share your story #HowDoURO
It's very likely that you know someone who could find help through Reach Out's resources. Please take a minute to check out the website and learn more. Thank you very much for reading. Don't forget to subscribe. Stay Safe. Be well.