While September is National Suicide Awareness Month, it’s important to be able to open up the conversation on mental health year-round. Nonetheless, this month we are taking the time to share resources and information on the stigmatized topic.
We have been in a declared pandemic for 549 days (— where does the time go?!) and many have dealt with an increase in anxious thoughts, depression and even suicidal thoughts. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 40% of adults reported having struggled with mental health last June during the first round of the pandemic. Although it may have seemed like things were at a standstill during the lockdown phase, life didn’t stop happening. In many instances people have had to adapt to a new way of life under mandates while navigating adulthood, job loss, housing issues and lack of access to adequate healthcare.
If you’ve experienced negative thoughts and mental health struggles, whether pre-pandemic or during; know that you are not alone. Oftentimes fear of judgement and shame deter us from talking openly about our experiences or seeking help. We want to encourage anyone who finds themselves feeling silenced by their thoughts to search for outlets and assistance that best fits your needs.
We’ve included some resources you or someone you know can consider for guidance or support.
If you’ve been tuned into SHE WELL READ then you’ve heard hosts Alana and Samra talk candidly about seeking therapy and how helpful it can be. While therapy may not be everyone’s first choice, talking to a licensed professional or recommending one to a friend could save a life. Due to the pandemic more virtual options are available.
Therapy for Black Girls Locator
There are free crisis services available that offer 24/7 support to anyone from anywhere in the U.S. You can seek assistance with someone confidentially via telephone or text at:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. or visit https://www.crisistextline.org
You may not be personally experiencing distress, but someone you love might be. In those situations it can be difficult to know what signs to look for and how to respond. The Take 5 to Save Lives initiative encourages individuals to take 5 minutes of their day to complete five action items on identifying suicidal warning signs and how to approach helping someone during a difficult time.
Practice self care.
Practicing self care looks different for everyone. It can be face masks (not medical, but we rock those too!), candles, a much needed chat with friends or a good playlist, but sometimes it’s not that simple. It might also mean getting deep, identifying your mental triggers, speaking up about things that are bothering you and setting physical or emotional boundaries.
Other need based resources:
Free and Charitable Medical Services Locator – AL
It’s important to note that no one should have to experience emotional or psychological distress alone— no matter the root cause. Do not be afraid to reach out to a professional or someone you can trust for guidance in times of need.
And in case you need to hear it…You are worthy. You are needed and you matter.