By Cindy Hsu

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Friday is World Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s observed every Sept. 10, and this year the theme is creating hope through action.

CBS2’s Cindy Hsu first met Dionne C. Monsanto two years ago, when she opened her heart and shared the story of her beautiful daughter Siwe, who died by suicide in 2011.

“She was brilliant. She was beautiful,” Dionne said. “And when she was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder, she was only 9. She died at 15. So she was living a great deal of time with depression and anxiety disorder.”

Dionne became involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and at their walks you’ll find her wearing an Elmo hat, Siwe’s favorite character. She also gives suicide prevention workshops all over the world, including to members of the NYPD, stressing that it shows strength to ask for help, and mental illness is a health issue like any other disease.


RESOURCES AND ASSISTANCE

24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 1-800-273-TALK
• Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor for free
• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771
• Suicide Prevention Hotline: (877) 727-4747
Suicide Prevention Live Chat

She says one thing we can all do is make a short go to list of things that make us happy and help maintain good mental health, and share your list with a friend or loved one who may recognize any red flags.

“I said to a friend before ‘I haven’t done yoga in two days.’ They’re like, ‘Are you good?  Do you need to talk about it? What’s going on? Have you danced, have you walked? What have you done?” Monsanto said.

WATCH: Breaking The Stigma: CBS2’s Cindy Hsu Shares Her Most Personal Story With Dana Tyler

To help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts: Listen without judgement and offer your support. Encourage them to seek help from a professional, and stay with them if you think they are in immediate danger.

What works is different for everyone. For Hsu it’s therapy and medication, and online there are so many resources to learn more.

“There are podcasts you can listen to. I love ‘Therapy for Black Girls.’ I think that one is really helpful. Speaking to your actual physician,” Monsanto said.

The key is to keep talking.

“We’re creating a culture that’s safe to talk about mental health challenges, mental health diagnoses, to get support and to not feel guilty or ashamed,” Monsanto said.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800 273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

ADDITIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES:

NYPD-SPECIFIC:

  • Employee Assistance Unit: 646-610-6730
  • Chaplains Unit: 212-473-2363
  • POPPA (independent from the NYPD): 888-267-7267

OUTSIDE OPTIONS:

  • NYC WELL: Text, call, & chat www.nyc.gov/nycwell
  • Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Law enforcement officers can text BLUE to 741741 (non-law enforcement can text TALK to 741741)
  • Call 911 for emergencies

Cindy Hsu