HOWELL – Township Municipal Alliance Coordinator Christa Kessler Riddle wants to remind the public that September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
She noted that with COVID-19-related rises in anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, and substance use, this month’s National Suicide Prevention Month campaign “is perhaps more important than ever.”
“A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed that 40% of U.S. adults said they had struggled with mental health or substance use during late June. Each September, Suicide Prevention Month efforts aim to raise public awareness of suicide prevention, education, and treatment resources,” Riddle said.
“This month and year-round, the Howell Township Municipal Alliance provides Howell community members with mental health and suicide prevention resources and information as part of its mission to prevent substance use and promote mental well-being,” she added.
Riddle noted that “with suicide and mental health/substance use disorders, immediate intervention and professional assistance saves lives, as does knowing, recognizing, responding to, and taking seriously the warning signs of suicide, such as talking about dying or death, feeling hopeless with no reason to live, having a suicide plan, expressing great shame, feeling trapped without solutions, sharing about unbearable pain, using alcohol or drugs more often, changing daily behavior and grooming habits, giving away special possessions, and withdrawing from family and friends.”
The Alliance is offering several upcoming events and workshops, such as an in-person Youth Mental Health First Aid certification training (subject to COVID-19 regulations) and New Jersey Department of Human Service’s free virtual suicide prevention workshops this fall.
The Alliance will be bringing the Stigma Free Zone of Monmouth County to Howell to reduce mental health/substance use disorder stigmas that can prevent people from seeking assistance over fear of judgment.
Riddle said, “the Howell Alliance is proud to have served on the Monmouth County Stigma-Free Action Committee since its inception.” She added, that the Alliance’s “Substance Use/Mental Health Support Services” web page that is linked to twp.howell.nj.us provides a comprehensive list of substance use/mental health support resources and local crisis interventionists.
You can also call 732-938-4500 ext. 4012 for current information on these topics.