The month of September marks World Suicide Prevention month, but mental health isn’t just a topic that needs attention one month or one day of the year, it’s a 365 days a year issue; so let’s talk about it!
Every 40 seconds, someone around the world commits suicide. In the US alone there are 132 suicides on average each day. These statistics are alarming and something that can be prevented by ending the stigma around mental illness and getting help.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
The stress of 2020 alone can be taking a toll on your mental health and you are not alone. It’s important to take steps towards real self-care and addressing these issues.
- Talk to a friend – Pick up your phone, create a Zoom or Teams call, meet up at a park or outside your home, whatever the method is, go talk to a friend or family member you can trust and ask them to listen. Let them know how you’re feeling, oftentimes this helps alleviate the stresses we hold on our shoulders.
- Eat well – Food has a huge impact on our mood and cognition. Not getting a specific nutrient can affect your mental health! In fact, researchers have found that poor diets play a role in worsening mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. It’s important to put food in your body that doesn’t just make you feel better in the moment, but also the next day.
- Meditate or Take A Break – Oftentimes, we’re too busy running around, thinking too much about changes we need to make, or wondering what the future looks like that we forget to slow down and take a breath. It’s critical to give yourself time to decompress and live in the now. You can take a walk, meditate for a few minutes, try out yoga, or work on some breathing exercises, whatever you can do to force yourself to slow down.
- Stay Active – Your physical health affects your mental health! If you are not taking care of your body, this can easily affect your mood and stress levels. Even by just moving your body for 30-60 minutes, three days a week can help relieve stress and sleep better. Exercise can not cure depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses but it can help boost your overall mood and provide an additional outlet to manage your mental health.
- Go Outside – Time spent outside may have a positive impact on your mental health! Some studies have shown that nature can lift your mood or lower anxiety. So take a minute to step outdoors and reduce your screen time!
HOW TO HELP OTHERS
Helping others is also critical we can’t all go through this alone.
- Check-In! Ask Questions – If you know someone who may be struggling or if you don’t know, it’s important to check-in and ask! Everyone shows emotions differently and they may be struggling on the inside and hoping someone will reach out to help.
- Help Them Connect – Help them connect with others who can support them, either through an online group or a local chapter. Having a support group that has felt what they are feeling or helping them find the resources they need for professional guidance can make a significant impact.
- Follow Up and Keep Showing Up – It’s easy to check in on your friends once but it’s important to keep checking in on your friends. Keep the conversation going! Consistency can make a world of difference for someone that is struggling.
Did you know your WCUI Student Services team is also here to help? They are always available to be the listening ear and can help you connect with resources in your area to support you, your education, or your health. Connect with them:
- Los Angeles: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ontario: email@example.com
- Phoenix: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, there are a lot of wonderful foundations and programs available if you are in need, want to help someone in need, or are looking to advocate for suicide prevention. We’ve made a short list here, but your Student Services team can also help you find a resource for your specific needs:
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1(800) 273-8255 or Text START to 741741, En Español 1(888) 628-9454
- Trevor Project Lifeline: Call (866) 488-7386 or Text START to 678-678, thetrevorproject.org
- Jed Foundation: JedFoundation.org
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsp.org
- Veterans Crisis Line: veteranscrisisline.net
- National Institute of Mental Health: nimh.nih.gov
- Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or Text TalkWithUs to 66746
- BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health: https://wellness.beam.community/
- Inclusive Therapists: inclusivetherapists.com
- Black Mental Health Alliance: blackmentalhealth.com
- The Steve Fund: stevefund.org, or Text STEVE to 741741
- Latinx Therapy: latinxtherapy.org
There is no judgment. You are not alone. So let’s keep talking.