September is Suicide Prevention Month.
Let’s bust some myths, shall we?
1. Speaking up if you need help is a sign of strength, NOT weakness.
2. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, background. It is an invisible illness that can be helped.
3. Men are x4 more likely to die by suicide but more women experience suicidal thoughts (according to @namicommunicate – National Alliance on Mental Illness).
What are some myths you think should be busted regarding suicidal thoughts/tendencies? How can we educate and do a better job in helping people to prevent this type of tragedy?
Suicide and Perinatal Parents
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
‘It’s a shocking and little-known fact that suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in Australia during pregnancy and the 12 months following birth. And crucially, women use more violent means to die by suicide in the perinatal period than at other stage in their lives. This means family, friends and health services have fewer opportunities to intervene.’
For this reason, we strongly believe in and advocate for mental health screening to catch early signs of anxiety and/or depression – yes, during the postpartum period, but just as importantly during pregnancy.
3 Reasons Why All Pregnant and Postpartum Women Should be Screened for Depression:
1. Screening leads to treatment. Treatment leads to women getting better.
2. There is no evidence of harm in screening pregnant and postpartum women for depression, so why won’t we screen? It is a win-win situation if we choose to screen.
3. Screening questionnaires are accurate enough to detect depression in pregnant and postpartum women.
Create a Safety Plan
You may be asking, ‘What is a safety plan?’
A safety plan is essentially a plan to help you navigate sad and difficult times, to keep you safe and remind you there are options other than suicide. When life gets challenging and overwhelming, it can feel difficult to cope or think straight. A safety plan helps bring together personalized coping strategies to remind you that you are not alone and can help you feel safe.
Safety plans may include:
- Contact details of trusted friends and professionals.
- A list of ways to make your environment safe – if you are not safe at home, go to a public space with a friend until the urge to harm yourself has passed.
- Reasons to live.
An Australian study has shown that safety plans work. They help reduce suicidal tendencies and help the overwhelmed person ride those difficult waves and come out the other side, safe.
BeyondBlue from Australia has created an incredible app called ‘BeyondNow‘ which you can download on the Apple Store or Google Play. If you do not have access to either, it can also be accessed online.
Here is an example of how a safety plan can look like, laid out by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (download the pdf to view).
Here is another link that helps discuss how a safety plan can be created and used.
If you are still struggling with your plan – call 911 for help.
HOPE App Study
Are you in the Alberta area?
Are you pregnant?
Your emotional health matters.
We are encouraging pregnant women from all of Alberta to participate in a research study to support emotional health during and after pregnancy.⠀⠀
Sign up and learn more here.
- Alliance of Hope – for suicide loss survivors: support program
- From the Archives: ‘Suicide in Pregnant Women and New Mothers‘
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Searching for facts about the biggest cause of death for pregnant women and new mums
- Beyond Blue: Stories of People Who Found a Way Through
- Beyond Blue: Self-Care for the Supporter
- Visit our Perinatal Mental Health Resources page for helpful links including:
– Links to people you can talk with (including therapists and volunteers)
– Crisis helplines
- Visit our COVID-19 Mental Health Resources page for helpful links including:
– Blog posts and resources
– Links to shelters and services to help people in distress
– Information for kids
- Take Action through journaling – try this Anti-Anxiety Notebook that uses CBT techniques (cognitive behaviour therapy).
Did you know we are on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest? Follow us for research based information on perinatal mental health.
We also have a section on Suicide Prevention filed under our Anxiety and Depression board on Pinterest. Be sure to follow us as a mental health resource to keep in your back pocket.
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