In September, the Yellow September campaign is held – a movement to raise awareness about suicide prevention. This campaign was created in Brazil in 2015, by the Centro de Valorização da Vida (CVV), the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) and the Brazilian Psychiatric Association (ABP).
Yellow September is important because it deals with a serious problem, often little talked about and that, in 90% of the cases (according to the WHO), can be prevented. Despite being a sensitive subject, it is essential that we can talk openly about suicide and ways to prevent it.
We often tend to think that this act is a distant reality, affecting few people. But, according to data from the Ministry of Health, in Brazil alone, about 32 people die daily from suicide.
When we understand that suicide is a reality and that it can affect people around us, it becomes clear that it is essential to talk about it. Suicides can be prevented as long as we are aware of their symptoms, their causes and ways to avoid it.
The causes of suicide are varied and, according to the CVV, specialists identify – although not always – mental disorders in most people who commit suicide or who try to do so. One of the main disorders observed is depression (either in the simple form or in the bipolar form). With that in mind, this post will not only help us understand more about Yellow September and the ways we can help prevent suicide, but also to understand mental health and the importance of always taking care of it.
What is mental health?
Most people, when they hear about mental health, think of mental illness. Even though they may be related, mental health involves much more than just mental illness. We need to understand that we all have our limits; daily we experience a series of emotions – from joy, to sadness, love, frustration, anger, satisfaction, anguish and many others.
A person’s mental health is related to how they react to these emotions and the demands of life, to the way in which they harmonize their desires, capacities, ambitions, ideas and emotions to live well together. It is when we are healthy and we are able to face the challenges and changes of daily life with balance and we know how to seek help when we have difficulties in dealing with conflicts, disturbances, traumas and / or important transitions during the life cycles.
All people can show signs of psychological distress at some stage in life. Be it anxiety, psychological malaise, continued stress, depression, addiction to alcohol and other drugs or even psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.
It is essential that you always pay attention to these signs and seek professional help whenever you see them. But it is worth mentioning that we have a certain habit of thinking that psychologists and psychiatrists are only useful when we are bad or full of problems. The truth is that having a professional listening to us and helping us to understand more about ourselves during daily activities is always extremely important and helps us to constantly evolve.
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To keep mental health up to date:
– Maintain positive feelings with yourself, with others and with the adversities and demands of life.
– Accept yourself and others with your qualities and limitations.
– Recognize your limits and seek help whenever necessary.
– Avoid drug use. Including alcohol, cigarettes and non-prescription drugs.
– Learn to deal with emotions – even those that displease you.
– Don’t isolate yourself. Set aside time in your life for leisure, socializing with friends and family, always reinforcing ties.
– Stay intellectual and physically active. Maintain good eating habits, read books, sleep well and engage in regular physical activity.
– Diversify your interests. Do not let the tiredness of the routine cause possible disinterest and wear. Try to diversify your daily activities whenever possible, looking for new interests and hobbies that attract you.
How can we help prevent suicide?
Returning to the main issue that Yellow September is about, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29 years and 79% of cases occur in low and middle income countries, according to the WHO.
The Ministry of Health points out that there is no way to safely detect when a person is experiencing a suicide crisis, but he may issue some signs that he is in need of help. For example: if you notice that a person is showing great signs of disinterest (even in activities that he liked to practice in the near past), he is no longer the same productivity in the field of studies or professional, he is isolating himself from friends and relatives, demonstrates a decrease in self-care, suffers sudden changes in mood, does not give great importance to their daily activities, says many things related to death and withdrawal or even suffers from substance abuse such as alcohol and other drugs, these can be signs of that person is in need of help.
Talk to that person – education is considered one of the first preventive measures against suicide. Talking about the subject in order to break the taboo put on it, make people aware, make room to talk about suicide are essential at this time. Let her speak without issuing accusatory judgments or opinions on the matter. Let her free herself, open herself and let you see a light in the midst of so many bad feelings she has been feeling. Make it clear that your will is just to help, and that your intention there is not to judge, let alone diminish what she has been feeling.What we must always remember is that we should not measure the pain of others by our personal experiences and understand that what does not affect us does not necessarily cause pain and suffering in the other.
As we mentioned earlier, monitoring professionals is essential at any stage of life. In cases of depression and suicide attempts this is no different, always encourage the person who is showing the aforementioned signs to seek specialized help.
If you realize that the person is at immediate risk, it is essential not to leave him alone. In such cases, contact emergency services and someone you trust. Did you know that in Brazil there is an institution that offers emotional support and acts in the prevention of suicide? This is the Life Valuation Center (CVV), a non-profit association. If you need or know someone who needs to talk, just call 188 or access the chat on the CVV website. The phone and chat are open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
Other ways to promote the mental health of others
– Supporting: The involvement of families and friends in the care and rehabilitation of these people is recognized as a key factor in the success of treatment.
– Integrating: Individuals affected by mental health problems are full citizens. They should not be excluded from the rest of society, but rather supported in the sense of their full integration into the family, school, workplaces and the community.
We hope this post has helped you. Yellow September is a great opportunity for us to debate about serious issues that still tend to be little treated today. Depression and suicide are real things, and we can always help ourselves and even help others in difficult times.