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Suicide prevention month, the importance of mental health

Local

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– September is suicide prevention month and according to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people die by suicide every year.

This month is to highlight the importance of taking care of your mental health and not being afraid to seek help if you need it.

“If I could talk to myself four years ago when I was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, I would just tell myself that it’s okay, it’s going to get better and just to keep fighting,” said Vicky Mennare.

Mennare says she got involved in suicide prevention when she lost her dad to suicide back in 2010.

She had her own battles with depression and suicidal thoughts, but now is part of the Michigan chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and even started her own design businesses based on mental health awareness.

“My hope with that art is to help other people share their stories and bring people hope to keep fighting and to stay,” said Mennare.

Corbin Standley from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Michigan Chapter, says one positive that’s come out of this pandemic, is that mental health is being talked about more.

“Really our whole goal is evaluate mental health to the same importance as physical health,” said Corbin Standley.

Standley says it’s important to also know some of the warning signs.

“Those are talk, mood, and behavior, so really what you’re looking for is anything that is sort of deviates from the norm of that particular person,” said Standley.

It’s usually not just one thing or event either.

“It’s always sort of this conglomeration of multiple factors so mental health is certainly a big piece of the puzzle but also things such as economic stress, relationship stress, financial stress, job stress,” said Standley.

Mennare and Standley say even with there still a stigma around asking for help, it’s vital to reach out.

“It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to reach out to help and it’s okay to reach out to someone if you’re worried about them,” said Mennare.

“We all have mental health and so mental health isn’t something that’s should always be thought of as negative sort of this mental illness frame, you know we all have mental health,” said Standley.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Michigan Chapter is holding a fundraiser on September 26th.

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