( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Only Human Joins Critical Monthly Effort to Raise Suicide Prevention Awareness
Contributor: Sophia Kang
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and one organization is uniting thousands nationwide in its campaign for suicide prevention. Only Human is a Phoenix-based community of social entrepreneurs who are asking those currently struggling with their mental health to “stay”. Since its launch in 2017, the Stay campaign has encouraged national conversations about what we can all do to prevent suicide.
This year’s Stay theme is Words Matter—because the words we say to ourselves and to others matter. Only Human has partnered with The Jed Foundation (JED), a nonprofit that helps high schools and higher education institutions implement critical suicide prevention programs; 10% of Only Human’s profits from this year’s campaign will go to JED.
ENSPIRE spoke with Bree Pear, Founder of Only Human, about what inspired this collaboration and how we can continue the momentum of National Suicide Prevention Month after September:
This year, Only Human is partnering with The Jed Foundation for its Stay campaign. What led to this collaboration?
When we look to partner with new non-profits, we always look at the work that they do and if it aligns with our values as an organization. The Jed Foundation is focused on starting conversations about mental health with our young and young adults, aka our future leaders. We knew after hearing about the work they do on campuses all over the U.S. that it was the right fit.
What inspired this year’s Stay theme, Words Matter?
Have you ever had one of those moments talking to someone where they say something they think is completely mundane, but it has this instant hold on you as if the words themselves were said just so that you could hear them? Last year, I was talking to the mom of a close friend, and she kept saying the phrase “words Matter” as she was talking about kindness and consideration for your fellow human. Little did I know that, in that moment, I was discovering an instrumental element to the campaign. I brought it back to the team as a potential theme, and the more they discussed it, the more they realized it was a perfect fit.
What kind of impact does the Stay campaign hope to have on those who are struggling with their mental health?
Each year, when we reimagine the message of Stay, we always hope that it inspires someone to stay and to move through the many challenges thrown our way as human beings. We work to offer resources 365 days a year that help you regain balance in your own life and offer a community of humans here to connect and share their experiences along the way.
National Suicide Prevention Month ends on September 30. How can we continue to encourage critical discussions about mental health? How can regular people keep this month’s momentum going?
Always check in on your friends—even that “always chipper” friend who never seems to have a care in the world. Ask the hard questions. Tell people how you’re really coping with changes in your life. Seek help if you need it, or offer a hand to someone else who has stumbled. Educate yourself on the resources out there so that, when a crisis hits, you’re prepared.
What is the biggest misconception about mental illness and suicide that contributes to their stigmatization?
The biggest misconception is that humans with mental illness are dangerous, incompetent, or to blame for their disorder. We find that this leads people to believe that they can’t ask for help without being judged for their emotions. It’s okay not to be okay sometimes.
Every month, Only Human adopts a new Cause Campaign to “support a cause that is helping make humans better.” But unlike other Cause Campaigns, Stay is a year-long effort raising critical awareness about suicide prevention. Only Human is offering several free resources for this year’s campaign, including a month of professional counseling through its partnership with BetterHelp, an online therapy service.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255.
Spread the word about Stay, shop the apparel here.
Related Article: SAMHSA Offers A Step-By-Step Guide for Wellness