Howell Alliance marks September as National Suicide Prevention Month

HOWELL – With pandemic-related rises in anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and substance use, September’s National Suicide Prevention Month campaign in Howell will focus on creating awareness of mental health resources and helplines.

The campaign will also promote Howell as a “Monmouth County Is Stigma-Free” community, which is dedicated to ending the stigmas surrounding mental health disorders so people feel supported by their community and motivated to seek help, according to a press release from the Howell Municipal Alliance.

According to Mental Health of America’s 2020 Screening Program, 62% of the 725,949 people screened scored with symptoms of severe or moderately severe depression. Of those who scored with symptoms of severe depression, 70% had never been diagnosed with a mental health condition and 67% had never received any kind of mental health treatment or support.

Each September, Suicide Prevention Month efforts aim to raise public awareness of suicide prevention, education and treatment resources. This month and year-round, the Howell alliance provides community members with mental health and suicide prevention resources and information as part of its mission to prevent substance use and to promote mental well-being, according to the press release.

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, according to the press release.

The Howell alliance is hosting a Youth Mental Health First Aid certification training on Oct. 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Howell municipal building. The course helps adults identify struggling youths and offer the right support. To register, go to EventBrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/youth-mental-health-first-aid-certificate-training-tickets-166548307471

According to the press release, it is important to be familiar with suicide prevention resources to use or share:

• 911 should always be called in an immediate crisis, emergency, or dangerous situation;

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7): 800-273-8255,  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

• NJ Hopeline (24/7): 855-654-6735, http://www.njhopeline.com/

• 2ndFLOOR Youth Helpline (24/7, talk or text): 888-222-2228, https://www.2ndfloor.org/

• Crisis Text Line (24/7): text “Home” to 741741, https://www.crisistextline.org/

The Howell alliance’s “Substance Use/Mental Health Support Services” web page
(http://www.twp.howell.nj.us/540/Substance-UseMental-Health-Support-Servi) provides a more comprehensive list of substance use/mental health support resources and local crisis interventions, according to the press release.

For more information, contact the Howell alliance at 732-938-4500, ext. 4012, or
send an email to criddle@twp.howell.nj.us