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Why we need to start the conversation

 

Suicide takes the lives of over 44,000 Americans every year.

Globally, suicide takes the lives of over 800,000 people every year.

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In America, 121 individuals complete suicide per day.

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Suicide completion rates have surged to a 30-year high.

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Signs Someone May Need Support

Suicide and self-harm are preventable mental health crises. We can be proactive by recognizing expressions of someone in distress.

A few types of warning signs are:

  • Someone expressing feelings of being trapped, like there is no way out.
  • Someone expressing hopelessness or stating no reason for living.
  • Someone withdrawing from family, their friends, or usual activities they like.
  • Someone talking or threatening to hurt or kill themselves.

These are only a couple of signatures, and there are different ways people exhibit pain.

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UNDERSTANDING OUR MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health impacts everyone’s quality of life and includes our passions, relationships, and experiences. Someone can be born with a genetic predisposition for a mental illness. Our brains can also sustain psychological traumas.

Consider the mind like a bottle of soda. Experiences from all aspects of life shake the bottle and build pressure. Healthy self-expression is relieving the pressure build-up without exploding. 

We invest a great deal of time formally and informally apprising others on how to address our physical health. For example, if someone had a broken leg, just about anyone would know to contact medical services. But unlike our physical health, mental health isn’t commonly talked about in our communities because of stigma. 

We need to embrace open communication of mental health challenges and be able to provide direction to help others before crisis arises. 

There is no shame in asking for help. There are tools and treatments to respond, treat and manage mental health issues.

IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK. HAVE HOPE.

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How to be supportive

When someone experiences a mental health challenge, here is how you can be supportive:

LISTEN:

Let someone really express their experiences. Being someone they can talk to is essential when giving support.

BE NON-JUDGMENTAL:

Don’t criticize or minimize the way they feel. You may not be able to understand exactly what they’re going through, and that’s ok.

ASK WHAT, NOT WHY:

When you ask questions, avoid asking ‘why’ questions, and instead ask ‘what’ questions. Asking why can have a judgmental tone even if you don’t mean it that way.

GIVE INFORMATION - DON’T DIAGNOSE:

Don’t assume they have an illness or condition. Provide direction to resources that can identify and treat mental health issues.

ACT AS A BRIDGE:

You can connect someone to mental health resources. Resources include family, school guidance, mental health professionals, and organizations like HFTD.

TEAMMATE IN SUPPORT:

Being supportive doesn’t mean your duty is to ‘fix’ someone. Mental health is complicated and solutions aren’t overnight. As a teammate, the best support you can give is by being a trusting ear, helping to navigate resources, and acting as a source of encouragement.

 

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Take a mental health screening today

It's important to remember that IT'S OK NOT TO BE OK and prevention starts with a conversation. Take a free screening test and encourage your friends to do the same, help is closer than you think.