By Devon O’Brien Ash

As September marks Suicide Prevention Month research has shown that loneliness can have a significant impact on mental health.

As a society, simple acts of kindness and connection can make a world of difference in someone’s life… and possible death.

Loneliness has long been recognized as a public health concern, and the past few years have seen a surge in feelings of isolation. The pandemic enforced physical distancing and a shift in the way we interact with each other and these circumstances have underscored the vital importance of maintaining connections and supporting each other’s mental health.

Here are five simple ways you can help:

Create Community: Make an effort in your neighborhood and local shops to strike up conversations and small talk to begin to weave a social fabric around you.

Reach Out and Listen: Take the time to check in on friends, family, and colleagues. Sometimes just being there to listen can make all the difference. Remember, it’s not about having all the answers but showing that you care.

Be Non-Judgmental: Approach conversations with an open mind and a non-judgmental attitude. Let others express their feelings without fear of criticism.

Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about the signs of mental distress and the resources available for help. The more informed you are, the better equipped you’ll be to offer support or guide someone towards professional help.

Practice Self-Care: Taking care of your own mental health is just as important. Remember to be kind to yourself and seek help if you need it. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to offer help. Together, we can create a supportive community and make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling.

Let’s use this Suicide Prevention Month to strengthen our connections, spread positivity, and create a network of support for one another.

Devon O’Brien Ash’ human behavior training company, Social Fluency is drawing attention to the crucial role that human connections play in mental well-being. He has spoken on stages all over the world for MindValley and YPO (Young Presidents Organization) and has taught at companies like YouTube, Google, and Deloitte.