The Role of Peer Support in Suicide Prevention

Written on by Mary Angela Yancy

“Hardship often prepares ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” CS Lewis  (38 Quotes for People in Recovery, 2023).

Confronted with overwhelming circumstances, many people have struggled with depression and thoughts of ending their life. Their life experience, however, can be a brilliant light of hope for others in the midst of darkness.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center welcomes insight from individuals with lived experience. Leah Harris, MA, a suicide attempt survivor and trainer with the National Center for trauma informed care shared that “we are experts by experience as individuals who have lived with mental health conditions and have been suicidal” (Harris, 2018). The Suicide Prevention Resource Center also advised that a key to effective suicide prevention is having people with lived experience “be engaged in prevention, planning, treatment and community education” (A Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention, 2020). Tapping into the resource of knowledge possessed by people with lived experience would also reduce stigma.

Suicide Prevention Strategies:

The adversities of life such as economic stressors can be mitigated by skills training pertaining to stress management, critical thinking, and resiliency. These three work together enabling a person to adapt and cope with change, providing protective factors against suicide risk.

Suicide Prevention Month Ideas For Action (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2023):

  • Join the National Action Alliance for Suicide prevention’s effort by adding #BeThere to your social media content.
  • Spread the word about 988: the free 24/7 nationwide confidential support Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number. 988 is available to use as a call, text, or online chat.
  • Share the nationwide Crisis Text Line, which is accessed by texting HOME to 741741. This is available 24/7 and is confidential and free of charge.
  • Participate in an Out of the Darkness Community Walk hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The Out of the Darkness Greater Philadelphia Walk is on 10/01/2023. It starts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA and begins at 8:30 AM. The contact person for this event is Collen Duffy 215-532-0275.  Philadelphia@afsp.org For this event, the  walk is approximately 3 miles however you may walk as far as  you can walk and at your own pace.

Resources:

38 Quotes for People in Recovery | Gateway Treatment Center https://www.gatewayfoundation.org/addiction-blog/quotes-for-people-in-recovery/

Lived Experience: What It Is and How to Include It – Featuring Leah Harris. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG5_0PvjaKs

A Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention – Suicide Prevention Resource Center.  https://sprc.org/effective-prevention/comprehensive-approach


Mary Angela Yancy

This blog was written by guest author, Mary Angela Yancy who is the Program Development and Research Associate for Voice and Vision, Inc.  She received her Master of Social Work degree from Temple University and volunteered as a Certified Peer Specialist at Norristown State hospital and Abington hospital’s Behavioral Health Unit. Dedicated to facilitating recovery and building resiliency with members of her community, Mary is passionate about people having an opportunity to grow and explore life regardless of their challenges.


Cover photo by Nicholas Swatz on pexels.com

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