Warning: This article includes references to suicide that may be upsetting to some readers. If you or one of your loved ones are experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis, the following resources are available to support you.
- Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
- NAMI HelpLine 1-800-950-6264 or firstname.lastname@example.org Mon-Fri 10am-6pm EST
- Crisis SMS Service: Text “NAMI” to 741-741
By Cristina Neil
During the month of September, a somber but critical observance takes center stage: Suicide Prevention Month. This dedicated month serves as a reminder that we all play a vital role in fostering hope, understanding, and support for those who may be struggling. In a world where silence can be deafening, let us join hands to amplify our efforts in raising awareness.
Suicide is a global concern that transcends age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. The World Health Organization reports that nearly 800,000 lives are lost to suicide each year, making it a major cause of death worldwide. However, these statistics only scratch the surface, as the impact of suicide reaches far beyond the numbers – affecting families, friends, and communities left grappling with the aftermath.
This year, we can look to Kevin Hines, an individual whose story has illuminated the path toward understanding, compassion, and effective suicide prevention strategies.
Kevin Hines’ Story: In the year 2000, Kevin attempted suicide. He survived, and committed his life to sharing his story of survival, hope, and resilience. Kevin’s journey showcases the power of seeking help and speaking out.
One of the most impactful ways Kevin Hines has shared his story is through his documentary “Suicide: The Ripple Effect.” This film chronicles his experience with mental health challenges, his attempt, and his mission to advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Through personal interviews and testimonials, his movie demonstrates the profound impact that stories can have on people’s lives. It underscores the importance of open dialogue, empathy, and human connection in preventing suicide.
Lessons from Kevin’s Journey:
- Destigmatizing Mental Health: Kevin’s openness about his struggles with bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts challenges the stigma surrounding mental health. His story encourages others to share their experiences without shame, fostering an environment where seeking help is normalized.
- Connection: Kevin’s experience reminds us that human connection can be a lifeline. An act of compassion such as a listening ear can make all the difference for someone who feels isolated or overwhelmed.
- Awareness: By discussing mental health openly, we contribute to a culture of support and acceptance.
Here are some resources and tips from NAMI.org:
- Education: Begin by identifying how stress feels to you. Then identify what events or situations cause you to feel that way. Stress affects your entire body, physically as well as mentally. Some common physical signs of stress include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Support: NAMI support groups exist to reassure you that countless other people have faced similar challenges and understand your concerns. Talking about your experiences can help.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately.
- If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org.
- You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
- Know the Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
- Being Prepared for a Crisis
- Read our guide, “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis”
- What You Need to Know About Youth Suicide
As we commemorate Suicide Prevention Month, let Kevin Hines’ experience serve as a powerful reminder that every life holds the potential to make a positive impact. By having compassion, and open dialogue, we create ripples of hope that extend far beyond ourselves. Together, we can embrace the responsibility of supporting one another and ensuring no one feels alone in their struggles.
At this time, “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” can be rented and purchased online. Various coalitions in Ann Arbor including Washtenaw County CMH, Washtenaw County Public Health, Washtenaw Alive, Family Crisis Centers, NAMI Washtenaw County, RU?OK Michigan, and Oxygen Youth Ministries have helped to screen this movie multiple times to audiences in the Ann Arbor area.
Cristina graduated from Eastern Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in communication and social work. She is interested in supporting under-served youth, social justice, and helping those in need. She is involved in many non-profits that are linked to those subjects. At NAMI, she is a volunteer with the overview committee, provides graphic design services, and supports community events.