By Omoiye Kinney
Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS)
September brings two important — and sometimes interrelated — recognitions together. This month is both National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and National Recovery Month.
As important as each is, both recognitions have heightened relevance during the ongoing COVID pandemic, as stress and anxiety are magnified by isolation, fear for physical well-being, and fear for economic well-being — which may result in consideration of substance use for some and suicidal ideation for others.
Even before COVID, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, with 1.4 million attempted suicides in 2018 and almost 50,000 lives lost. In 2020, Philadelphia has seen a 16.7 percent increase in deaths by suicide in comparison to 2019.
Philadelphia has numerous events planned for both recognitions throughout the month. We encourage you to take part to remind people they are not ever alone in Philadelphia.
Recovery Month Events – click for more details of events listed below
- Sept. 12: Recovery Walk, the centerpiece of Recovery Month. The 30,000-strong event will be virtual this year, taking place from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
- Sept. 16: The Power of Peers – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Arthur Evans, Panel of Philadelphia Area Peers sharing Lessons Learned about Promoting and Supporting Recovery in a Pandemic. 6 p.m.
- Sept. 23: A Conversation on Anti-Racism and Peer Recovery- Deputy Commissioner Roland Lamb, DBHIDS. 6 p.m.
- Sept. 30: Recovery Month Grand Finale- “The Recovery Toolbox For All.” Closing keynote by Bill White. 6 p.m.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
- Sept. 10: Suicide Prevention Day. DBHIDS and partners across the city will be wearing purple and buildings including Boathouse Row, the FMC building, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and others will be lit up in purple to show support.
- Sept. 16: A Suicide Loss Survivors Panel will focus on survivors of suicide, including discussion with individuals who have lost someone to suicide.
- Sept. 17: Training session will provide a framework for supporting an individual who may be thinking about suicide and how to connect them to help.
- Sept. 30: Black Youth and Suicide panel discussion will focus on unique issues related to suicide and Black youths. — learn more at DBHIDS.org/black-youth-suicide
- More information at DBHIDS.org on these events and others, including monthly suicide loss survivor support groups.