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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Cure Stigma

suicide prevention awareness month
In the United States, millions of Americans are contending with a treatable mental health condition, but most of them haven’t sought help. This needs to change; untreated mental illness places individuals at significant risk of self-harm. The time to talk about addiction and conditions like depression is now. September is both National Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide is a consequential issue in America, and we need to shed light on the subject to encourage more people to seek assistance. The vast majority of suicide victims have diagnosable mental illnesses, and many have more than one. Suicidal ideations and attempts are preventable when individuals receive support.

At the Haven, we treat men and women living with alcohol and substance use disorders. We also help people who are contending with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness. While the former group is prone to suicidal thoughts and self-harm, the latter group is at an even higher risk.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among people who misuse alcohol and drugs, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2016, nearly 45,000 individuals died by suicide in the U.S.; the majority were struggling with mental illness at the time of their deaths.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness as revealed by psychological autopsy. The organization adds that 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness.

Tackling Stigma During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month


Mental health conditions are real. The existence of such diseases is supported by research, and people born with or those who develop mental illness are not at fault. The signs and symptoms are classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Stigma is one of the primary reasons that less than half of the adults in the United States get the help they need for mental illness. Rather than being shamed by society, those affected deserve compassion and encouragement. When men and women are made to feel responsible for their mental disease, they are more reticent to talk about their illness. Millions of Americans are battling their conditions alone, needlessly.

A key component of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is confronting the misconceptions that precipitate stigmas. The more stigma-free we are as a country, the more willing people will be to talk openly about their problems.

“One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.” 

Each American knows or is related to someone affected; when we as a society show more compassion, we help the ones we love. Hopefully, everyone will take time this month to better familiarize themselves with mental health conditions. The more you know, the better equipped you are to promote awareness and combat stigma. NAMI states that:

The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.

Together we can cure stigma and inspire people to seek evidence-based treatment and heal. When men and women access mental health resources, recovery is possible, and a better life can be built.

SLO County Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders


Long-term recovery is possible when the whole patient is treated. Many men and women become dependent on drugs and alcohol by self-medicating their mental illness. For others, co-occurring mental illness arises in the wake of protracted battles with alcohol and substance use disorders. The order in which a dual diagnosis comes about is not as relevant as ensuring that both conditions receive simultaneous treatment.

The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illness, then please reach out to us today. Nestled on the shore of California’s Central Coast, The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today.