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OP-ED: Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month:


Submitted by Summit Oaks Hospital 


Breaking the Stigma Together Screen Shot 2020-08-13 at 17.1.50

Each month we recognize, observe and celebrate all of the designated National Awareness Months in unique and different ways. Our focus shifts from topic to topic, by addressing mental health and substance use disorders. In doing so, we engage ongoing discussions with our communities and among ourselves to find new ways to break the negative stigmas attached to seeking treatment. This month, like many of our partners and provider networks, we are recognizing Suicide Awareness and Prevention with hopes that we can provide an opportunity for comfort and healing to those who may need it now and for those who may need our support in the future.

The process of change can be intimidating, and with the arrival of September we approach a time for remarkable transitions.  A new school year begins, sweaters are needed again, and unexpected holiday decorations start flooding department stores. These alterations to our daily activities can be anxiety-provoking and may lead to negative thinking patterns. Left untreated, these thoughts may worsen. They may build upon one another, stacking up and burying the first thought deeper and deeper. As these negative thoughts continue to build, worsening symptoms may arise.  All of this negative thinking can become so problematic that it interferes with our daily activities, and we may not be able to function as we once could. Most concerning, such intense growth in thought patterns may lead to concerns over our own safety.    

Making a decision to enter any type of mental health treatment is intimidating. The hardest part can be picking up the phone and making the first call.  Sure, you can scour the internet and research countless therapists, treatment centers, and doctors in your area.  After spending an hour scrolling through your options, you may have comprised a list of questions like, “What is the difference between an LCSW and an LPC?” “What is a ‘level of care’?”  “Which type of doctor prescribes medications again?” “What’s it really like as a patient there?” “Is the food good?”

As mental health professionals, we want to help you.  It is our passion and commitment to lead you toward a path that is full of hope, happiness and fulfillment. We appreciate how the journey to recovery is not easy, however we have the tools for you to succeed. You, your family members, and support networks are not alone in navigating this maze of the mental health treatment world. We are with you every step of the way, and we strive to make your experience (whether it’s your first, second, or eleventh time in treatment) comfortable and filled with inspiration and compassion.

To ease the discomforts or feelings of unease for our future patients, families, and support systems, it is reassuring to learn from others’ experiences. Many of our former patients have shared personal messages of encouragement, with hopes in providing comfort to those seeking and considering treatment.  Here’s what they had to say:

“If you ask for help, you can save yourself. Your future will be like walking on the red carpet.”

“Take a moment, take a deep breath, and know that you are not going through this alone.  Never stop loving yourself; you are worth the fight.”

“Read my words. There is hope. Hang in there. Stay and get the best of what is offered to you. Listen and learn. I have faith in you.”

Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month provides us with a strong reminder of the importance of education, communication and support networks.  Family members and support systems of those who are suffering should never be left behind. We hear you, and we are here for you too.  Learning from others’ experiences provides a reminder that your treatment journey does not have to be traveled alone. 

There is no shame in pursuing professional help. The negative stigma attached to seeking mental health treatment is a battle worth fighting. We must start with conversations with one another, sharing words of inspiration and hope, and supporting those we care for during their times of need.  In doing so, we can save another life. We have to break the negative stigma and we can do this together

At Summit Oaks Hospital, we are here for you, for your family, for your friends, and for the community.   Join us in this conversation today, tomorrow and every day thereafter.

About Summit Oaks Hospital

Summit Oaks Hospital is licensed by the state of New Jersey, and is fully accredited by The Joint Commission. For more information on the services and treatment programs available, please visit