Suicide Awareness Needed All Year Long

Anne Orban, Managing Editor

The month of September was suicide awareness month. During the month, Facebook and other forms of social media were flooded with all kinds of positive posts about suicide awareness. For one month, the world spread awareness about a social issue that can be devastating to both the victims of suicide and the people who are left behind. This kind of awareness to a cause is so important and can save lives, but what about the other 11 months of the year? We as a society should continue the themes started in September throughout the year.

The reasons for year-long awareness are obvious — suicide is devastating. There are a few more black and white reasons why this awareness is needed as well. According to and the Centers for Disease Contro,l suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages. This means that every 13 minutes someone commits suicide. When it is put in to perspective, this is a disturbing statistic.

Although September is suicide awareness month, there are movements that take place year round to raise awareness. The Semicolon Project is among them.

The Semicolon Project is a global non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury.

On the project website founder Amy Bleuel said, “The vision is that together we can achieve lower suicide rates in the U.S. and around the world; that together we can start a conversation about suicide, mental illness and addiction that can’t be stopped.”

Bleuel started the movement after she lost her father to suicide. She wanted to honor him so she got a tattoo of a semicolon because a semicolon continues a sentence instead of ending it. Just like people can chose to continue their lives instead of losing them to suicide, mental illness or addiction.

The project has sparked a trend of people getting semicolon tattoos and sharing their stories. The project is for everyone, though, not just those who get the tattoo. Their website makes it easy to share stories and has a direct link to the suicide hotline if anyone needs it.

Suicide prevention and awareness is something that should be spread across college campuses. College can be a stressful and depressing time in life. According to the Huffington Post article “Why social perfection can be toxic for college students,” nearly 1,100 suicides happen on college campuses each year.

Having one month completely dedicated to suicide awareness is a step in the right direction. However, the need for awareness in the other months of the year does not go away. The world loses a life to suicide every 13 minutes and that is too many lives. The time for change does not go away after the month of September. If you or anyone you know struggle with depression or suicidal thoughts do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255.