There is Hope, Even When Life Seems Hopeless - Suicide Prevention Week | UHSM

The week between September 10-16th marks the 49th annual National Suicide Prevention Week. Although efforts to prevent suicide have come a long way these past 49 years, suicide is still the 11th leading cause of death in the US, with 48,183 people (or one death every minute) dying by suicide in 2021. To that end, it is incumbent on every individual to prepare accordingly to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Warning Signs of Suicide

If you or someone you know displays these warning signs, seek help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

  • Talking about wanting to kill oneself and making a plan
  • Feeling empty, hopeless, or if there is no reason to live
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, exhibiting extreme mood swings
  • Withdrawing from family and friends and isolating oneself

The Importance of Having Human Support 

The fight against suicide is not something you can do alone. Men shouldn’t be ashamed of asking for help either – especially since men died by suicide nearly 4x more than women in 2021. 

One of the main emotions people feel when contemplating suicide is hopelessness and loneliness. Surrounding yourself or loved ones struggling with suicidal ideation with supportive people like family, friends, and caregivers is one of the best ways to minimize risk. Likewise, get connected to schools, communities, churches and other social groups.

Create a Personalized Wellness Plan 

Every success story includes a plan – preventing suicide is no different. Here are some powerful “I will” statements to live by when feeling thoughts of despair.

  • Talk to someone: Reach out to a friend, family member, pastor, counselor, or someone you trust and honestly tell them what you’re thinking about doing.
  • Hold on to hope: Put things in perspective and remember you can have hope no matter what you feel or think.
  • Address physical issues: Live a healthy lifestyle and take care of yourself physically with medical checkups, which may shed light on issues contributing to negative thoughts.
  • Take care of my emotional needs: Pursue healthy ways of managing emotions instead of harmful coping mechanisms, such as journaling, drawing/painting, praying, meditating, or exercising.
  • Stay connected with my community: You are not alone. Seek the support of others and check in regularly with your support system.

Never Forget the Spiritual Component 

While physical and mental health are critical aspects of suicide prevention, it is paramount that we remember there is a spiritual component – indeed, a spiritual battle.

  • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Perhaps the most powerful resource we have against suicide is God’s Word.

  • “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalms 119:105)

We must look to God for help in our darkest moments and remember his promises.

  • “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Check out These Additional Resources

While WeShare members already have access to counselor-led care a vast PPO PHCS network, available at over 1.2 million locations, UHSM has also partnered with BetterHelp so members can prioritize their mental wellness with BetterHelp’s convenient access to online, telehealth therapy. This National Suicide Prevention Week, UHSM also encourages you to visit UHSM partner Hope for the Heart to learn more from their Keys for Living book and Quick Reference Guide for more information on suicide prevention.


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