‘Sex And Suicide Podcast’ Destroys Mental Illness Stigma In Raw, Uncensored Way

[The audio quality is not the best…but it is interesting listening to 3 people talk freely about what works for them]

We have a long way to go before the stigma of talking about mental health is completely gone, especially for men.

But for the three hosts of “The Sex And Suicide Podcast,” nothing is off limits. This includes talking about their depression, anxiety and even being sexually abused.

The men, based in London, Ont., have created a raw and profanity-laced podcast to encourage others to be just as brutally blunt and honest about their own mental health struggles.

Their flagship series, Soulfire Sundays, features hosts Shawn Evans, Scott Milne, and Paulie O’Byrne sitting on a couch cracking jokes while opening up about their personal experiences. One episode centred on Evans’ anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications, while another was about O’Byrne’s cognitive behavioural therapy treatment.

Evans, who created the podcast, said their unorthodox style resonates with their growing base of 20,000 fans on Facebook and YouTube.

Milne, who is a professional bodybuilder, pointed out that mental illness doesn’t care about how much someone can bench press. The hosts’ mantra is: if it’s OK for them to talk about it, anyone can.

O’Byrne is extremely candid about being sexually abused by his hockey coach over 11 years ago. His abuser was convicted of sexual assault and served three months house arrest and 18 months probation.

Evans was a contestant on the 11th season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” On the show, he was a partier, who indulged in drinking.

Off-camera he said he was prone to self-medicating and drinking even more when he felt tense.

Now approaching two years sobriety, Evans says the experience altered his life because “it made me look at how people saw me and change my ways, and for that I’m appreciative.”

 

WATCH HERE

WHY BEING ACTIVE OUTDOORS MATTERS MORE THAN EVER

Not so long ago, Anna Pearson woke up at 2:45am, walked 8km up to Cascade Lookout in Manning Park, BC, and watched the sun slowly creep up from behind the mountains, turning the sky shades of gold, rose and powder blue. There’s no doubt that morning’s sunrise meant something special to all 50 strangers who witnessed it as a part of MEC Outdoor Nation and Chasing Sunrise’s Chasecamp weekend, but for Anna, it meant something different.

As she later recapped on her personal blog, Daily Insanity, “… taking on new adventures, meeting new people and exploring the world … was my way of showing the monsters that lived inside my head that I was in control of my life and that they would never be able to stop me from pursuing my happiness.”

The Ottawa-based McGill University grad has spent the past five years coming to terms with her clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder, following what Anna describes as a breakdown and emergency situation over a summer during university. Now, with a healthy routine in place, she bravely chronicles her thoughts on relapse, remission and therapy on the blog, and touches often on a core part of her daily practice: exercise and outdoor activity. “I’ve been doing ballet since I was 4 years old, but I kind of stopped when I went to school,” she says. “Now, being active is hugely important to my daily routine – hiking absolutely has its advantages. My friends say they’ve never seen me so happy.”

 

 

One piece of advice Anna is quick to give, however, is not to introduce activity at a vulnerable time. She admits to initially taking up running as a coping mechanism for her depression and anxiety, eventually developing an eating disorder and an injury. She suggests recreational group activities as a first step because they come with built-in community and support. “When you recover from a downward spiral,” says Anna, “you realize all the little things you take for granted, and the outdoors has a way of really highlighting that.”

 

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

What is Anxiety?

This entire article is republished here.  With thanks to Homewood Health.

 

Approximately three million Canadians have an anxiety disorder and approximately one in four will suffer from an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.1 In a recent study of lawyers, 19% were found to have suffered with anxiety.2
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Anxiety is a normal and temporary reaction to stressful situations or environments; whereas, anxiety disorders involve intense and prolonged reactions, which often have debilitating symptoms (i.e. shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and irritability) that are often misaligned with the reality of the situation or the associated risk.3 Researchers are learning that anxiety disorders can run in families, and have a biological basis, much like allergies. Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, personality, and life experience.
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As a member of the legal profession, you often deal with a range of personalities further complicated by difficult and emotional situations, which require you to be calm and in control of your faculties at all times. Understanding how to manage anxiety is a valuable skill, using the techniques below may help to minimize how frequently you encounter anxiety:
 
 
 
 
  • Connect with others. Loneliness and isolation set the stage for anxiety. By connecting with people who are supportive, caring, and sympathetic, you may decrease feelings of vulnerability (which can contribute to anxiety manifesting). Make it a point to regularly meet with friends or family, join a self-help or support group, connect with a Member Assistance Program Peer Volunteer or share your experiences with a trusted loved one or counsellor.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Daily practice can help manage anxiety symptoms and increase relaxation, benefiting emotional well-being over time. Mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation techniques (controlling the state of muscular tension in your body), and doing deep breathing exercises, can all relieve feelings of anxiousness.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural stress and anxiety reliever. When exercising your body produces endorphins that combat fatigue and stress. Rhythmic activities that require moving both your arms and legs, such as walking, swimming, or dancing, are especially effective.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most important activities in managing anxious thoughts and feelings. Those who struggle with anxiety often have difficulty getting to sleep. If you struggle with sleep, try meditation before bed to help clear your mind. Create the right environment for sleeping; not eating an hour before bed and keeping a consistent sleep schedule increases your quality of sleep.
  • Be smart about caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. If you struggle with anxiety, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine intake or cutting it out completely. Caffeine has been shown to increase cortisol levels, which can lead to anxiousness.4 Nicotine, often thought to be a relaxant is actually a powerful stimulant that produces epinephrine (adrenaline) when inhaled. The production of adrenaline causes a spike in glucose levels which increase blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration, increasing the likelihood of anxiety manifesting.5 Alcohol serves as both a stimulant and a depressant, making alcohol a key factor if you struggle with anxiety. When alcohol is consumed, your blood alcohol content (BAC) rises, causing mood and emotions to change; however, as your BAC decreases, alcohol induced anxiety can manifest along with depression and fatigue.6 When consuming caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol, realise these are key factors that directly affect your anxiety levels.
  • Train your brain to stay calm. Worrying is a mental habit you can learn how to manage. Set aside dedicated time in your day to focus on difficult events or tasks. Write them down, assess the scenario and reflect upon how to approach or manage the situation. By challenging anxious thoughts and learning to accept uncertainty, you build resiliency which can reduce anxiety and fear.
 
 
 
 
 
If you feel that you or a loved one may have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, speak with a qualified health care professional regarding diagnosis and treatment options.
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Sources:
  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2015). Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Canada. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/canada/health-canada/migration/healthy-canadians/publications/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/mental-mood-anxiety-anxieux-humeur/alt/mental-mood-anxiety-anxieux-humeur-eng.pdf
  2. The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys Patrick R. Krill, JD, LLM, Ryan Johnson, MA, and Linda Albert, MSSW, Journal of Addiction Medicine: February 2016 – Volume 10 – Issue 1 – p 46 – 52
  3. Waszczuk, M., Zavos, H., & Eley, T. (2013, June). Genetic and environmental influences on relationship between anxiety sensitivity and anxiety subscales in children. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3878378/
  4. Veleber, D. M., Templer, D. I., & California School of Professional Psychology – Fresno. (1984, September). Effects of Caffeine on Anxiety and Depression. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f29a/18c89b6f6d464e9398c898699451d555af5d.pdf
  5. Psychology Today. (2017, April 17). Nicotine. Retrieved May 17, 2017, fromhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/nicotine
  6. Wolitzky-Taylor, K., Brown, L. A., Roy-Byrne, P., Sherbourne, C., Stein, M. B., Sullivan, G., Craske, M. G. (2015). The impact of alcohol use severity on anxiety treatment outcomes in a large effectiveness trial in primary care. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 30, 88–93. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.12.011
 
 
 
 

Hitting the right nerve: the electronic neck implant to treat depression

posted in: Help, Research | 0

Steve Collins is a 45-year-old unemployed architect who has been living with severe depression for 15 years. “I’m like a hermit crab hiding under rocks, crouching in dark spaces and only venturing out occasionally; there’s no light, no hope, no way in or out. I’ve been in therapy for years and must have taken at least six different antidepressant drugs. I had ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) and that literally shocked me out of it for a bit, but the depression came back – and the idea of ECT was so shocking for my family. People say: ‘Well, at least you haven’t got cancer.’ But, honestly, I’d rather have almost anything than live like this.”

A new type of treatment, vagal nerve stimulation (VNS), may offer hope for people like Collins who don’t improve with conventional depression treatment. A small battery-powered device like a pacemaker is inserted under the skin in the neck, from where it emits pulses of weak electical current to stimulate part of the vagus nerve. The vagus normally monitors our vital functions; it collects information about our breathing, heart rate and joint position, and sends signals back to the brain that tell it to respond if there are fluctuations.

 

 

Psychiatrist Umberto Albert, of the University of Turin, is also cautiously optimistic about VNS. “There is strong opposition to ECT in Italy, so we really don’t have anything to offer people with severe depression who have tried talking therapies and at least four antidepressant drugs. In the right patients, VNS can be effective, although they need to keep taking the drugs and be patient because it certainly takes six months until you see the effect.”

 

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Is a Life Without Struggle Worth Living?

posted in: Personal Stories | 0

In the autumn of 1826, the English philosopher John Stuart Mill suffered a nervous breakdown — a “crisis” in his “mental history,” as he called it.

Since the age of 15, Mill had been caught firmly under the intellectual spell of his father’s close friend, Jeremy Bentham. Bentham was a proponent of the principle of utility — the idea that all human action should aim to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number. And Mill devoted much of his youthful energies to the advancement of this principle: by founding the Utilitarian Society (a fringe group of fewer than 10 members), publishing articles in popular reviews and editing Bentham’s laborious manuscripts.

Utilitarianism, Mill thought, called for various social reforms: improvements in gender relations, working wages, the greater protection of free speech and a substantial broadening of the British electorate (including women’s suffrage).

There was much work to be done, but Mill was accustomed to hard work. As a child, his father placed him on a highly regimented home schooling regime. Between the ages of 8 and 12, he read all of Herodotus, Homer, Xenophon, six Platonic dialogues (in Greek), Virgil and Ovid (in Latin), and kept on reading with increasing intensity, as well as learning physics, chemistry, astronomy, and mathematics, while tutoring his younger sisters. Holidays were not permitted, “lest the habit of work should be broken, and a taste for idleness acquired.”

Not surprisingly, one of the more commonly accepted explanations of Mill’s breakdown at the age of 20, is that it was caused by cumulative mental exhaustion.

In movies and literature, for instance, our favorite protagonists tend to be flawed or troubled in some way. In “Edward Scissorhands,” it is the monster and the disenchanted teenager that we root for, not the creepily perfect suburbanites. And in music, many prefer the “human” — that is, soulful but imperfect — composition or performance over its technically flawless counterpart. In its early forms at least, rock music certainly cultivated this kind of ethos.

Did Mill, who admits to being something of a “reasoning machine” throughout his teenage years, suddenly grow weary of mechanistic perfection? Perhaps he was disturbed by the imagined inhumanity of a world without struggle or privation — by the possibility that it might lack the romantic charms of human failure and frailty.

It took Mill two years to find a way out of his crisis. It was only after he began reading, not philosophy, but the poetry of William Wordsworth, that he was fully convinced he had emerged.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Michael Phelps: A Golden Shoulder to Lean On

TEMPE, Ariz. — Nearly a week into their most recent therapeutic reunion, Michael Phelps and Grant Hackett, two giants of Olympic swimming, sat down to breakfast at a packed restaurant and wondered how they would explain themselves to their children someday.

The conversations they foresaw had nothing to do with Phelps’s record-shattering medal haul or with Hackett’s defiance of debilitating illnesses during a decade-long dominance of the 1,500-meter freestyle, the most grueling event in the pool, that earned him the nickname Captain Courageous from his fellow Australians.

They were reliving dark moments, times when they posed a danger to themselves and others.

Phelps, 32, imagined the day when his toddler son, Boomer, would refer to one of those low points: “You were going 86 miles an hour in a 45-mile zone. Why can’t I?”

Hackett, 37, laughed ruefully and told Phelps he had already spoken with a child psychologist about how to guide his 8-year-old twins through the shambles of his post-swimming life.

“There will be conversations that need to be had,” Hackett said, “and a certain strength you’ll have to find.”

Photo

Hackett, left, and Phelps after they raced in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships. Phelps won the gold medal, Hackett the silver. CreditMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

After the second D.U.I. arrest, in 2014, Phelps spent eight weeks at the Meadows, an Arizona treatment center, to deal with the anxiety and depression that he had tried to overcome on his own after the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Recognizing how difficult it is for many people to recognize their vulnerabilities and reach out for help, Phelps has devoted himself to unraveling the stigma of mental illness.

“I want to be able to get out in public and talk and say, ‘Yes, I’ve done these great things in the pool, but I’m also a human,’ ” Phelps said, sweeping his gaze across the restaurant. “I’m going through the same struggles as a lot of the people in this room.”

Phelps has started some public speaking on the topic and has become an informal counselor to the stars, lending an ear to the golfer Tiger Woods after his arrest in May on charges of driving under the influence. A toxicology report revealed no alcohol in Woods’s system, but rather a mix of four prescription drugs and the active ingredient in marijuana.

“I feel like that’s a massive scream for help,” Phelps said.

Photo

Phelps and Allison Schmitt, another Olympic champion, spoke at National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at George Washington University in May. CreditRichard Greenhouse

Sometimes at night, Hackett and Phelps will start talking about mental health — their own and others’ — and the conversation will still be going strong at 1 or 2 in the morning. The more they give voice to their vulnerabilities, the easier it is to imagine one day explaining their worst moments to their children.

Yes, they messed up, but nobody is perfect.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re Tiger Woods or Joe Blow down the street,” Hackett said. “We’re all just people trying to work through stuff.”

There is a lot more to this story….READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal and Save a Life

I don’t normally post an entire article in this blog…..I feel the originator should have people who are interested look at their original content in the original form.  However, suicide prevention is SO important, that I am copying this entire, excellent post here….I want you ALL to read this…it may save a life.  With great thanks to:  The HelpGuide

 

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Suicide Prevention

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. People who take their lives don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

If you’re thinking about suicide, please read Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the U.S.! To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP or Suicide.org.

 

Understanding suicide

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it’s difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to suicide, but they just can’t see one.

Common misconceptions about suicide
Myth: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.

Fact: Almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Don’t ignore even indirect references to death or suicide. Statements like “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Myth: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.

Fact: Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

Myth: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.

Fact: Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

Myth: People who die by suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.

Fact: Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.

Myth: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.

Fact: You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

 

Warning signs of suicide

Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It’s not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide—it’s a cry for help.

Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.

Major warning signs for suicide include talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing a lot about death or dying, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons and drugs. These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol dependence, has previously attempted suicide, or has a family history of suicide.

A more subtle but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about “unbearable” feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.

Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as going from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.

Suicide warning signs

Talking about suicide – Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”

Seeking out lethal means – Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

Preoccupation with death – Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.

No hope for the future – Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.

Self-loathing, self-hatred – Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).

Getting affairs in order – Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.

Saying goodbye – Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.

Withdrawing from others – Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.

Self-destructive behavior – Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”

Sudden sense of calm – A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to attempt suicide.

 

Suicide prevention tip 1: Speak up if you’re worried

If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help—the sooner the better.

Talking to a person about suicide

Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But if you’re unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.

Ways to start a conversation about suicide:

“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”

“Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”

“I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.”

Questions you can ask:

“When did you begin feeling like this?”

“Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?”

“How can I best support you right now?”

“Have you thought about getting help?”

What you can say that helps:

“You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.”

“You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.”

“I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”

“When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.”

When talking to a suicidal person

Do:

Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.

Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, ventilate anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign.

Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.

Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.

Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.

But don’t:

Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Look on the bright side.”

Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.

Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word.

Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.

Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.

Source: Metanoia.org

 

Tip 2: Respond quickly in a crisis

If a friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it’s important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for suicide in the near future have a specific suicide PLAN, the MEANS to carry out the plan, a TIME SET for doing it, and an INTENTION to do it.

The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:

  • Do you have a suicide plan? (PLAN)
  • Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (MEANS)
  • Do you know when you would do it? (TIME SET)
  • Do you intend to take your own life? (INTENTION)
Level of Suicide Risk
Low – Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Moderate – Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
High – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t attempt suicide.
Severe – Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will attempt suicide.

If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call a local crisis center, dial 911, or take the person to an emergency room. Remove guns, drugs, knives, and other potentially lethal objects from the vicinity but do not, under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.

 

Tip 3: Offer help and support

If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care. Don’t take responsibility, however, for making your loved one well. You can offer support, but you can’t get better for a suicidal person. He or she has to make a personal commitment to recovery.

It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. Witnessing a loved one dealing with thoughts about ending his or her own life can stir up many difficult emotions. As you’re helping a suicidal person, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find someone that you trust—a friend, family member, clergyman, or counselor—to talk to about your feelings and get support of your own.

Helping a suicidal person:

Get professional help. Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor’s appointment.

Follow-up on treatment. If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. It often takes time and persistence to find the medication or therapy that’s right for a particular person.

Be proactive. Those contemplating suicide often don’t believe they can be helped, so you may have to be more proactive at offering assistance. Saying, “Call me if you need anything” is too vague. Don’t wait for the person to call you or even to return your calls. Drop by, call again, invite the person out.

Encourage positive lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.

Make a safety plan. Help the person develop a set of steps he or she promises to follow during a suicidal crisis. It should identify any triggers that may lead to a suicidal crisis, such as an anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Also include contact numbers for the person’s doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.

Remove potential means of suicide, such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If the person is likely to take an overdose, keep medications locked away or give out only as the person needs them.

Continue your support over the long haul. Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch with the person, periodically checking in or dropping by. Your support is vital to ensure your friend or loved one remains on the recovery track.

 

Risk factors

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 90 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from one or more mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or alcoholism. Depression in particular plays a large role in suicide. The difficulty suicidal people have imagining a solution to their suffering is due in part to the distorted thinking caused by depression.

Common suicide risk factors include:

  • Mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, or history of trauma or abuse
  • Terminal illness or chronic pain, a recent loss or stressful life event
  • Social isolation and loneliness

Antidepressants and suicide

For some, depression medication causes an increase—rather than a decrease—in depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings. Because of this risk, the FDA advises that anyone on antidepressants should be watched for increases in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Monitoring is especially important if this is the person’s first time on depression medication or if the dose has recently been changed. The risk of suicide is the greatest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment.

 

Suicide in teens and older adults

In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, both teenagers and older adults are at a higher risk of suicide.

Suicide in teens

Teenage suicide is a serious and growing problem. The teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful. Teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in. They may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation. For some, this leads to suicide. Depression is also a major risk factor for teen suicide.

Other risk factors for teenage suicide include:

  • Childhood abuse
  • Recent traumatic event
  • Lack of a support network
  • Availability of a gun
  • Hostile social or school environment
  • Exposure to other teen suicides

Warning signs in teens

Additional warning signs that a teen may be considering suicide:

  1. Change in eating and sleeping habits
  2. Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
  3. Violent or rebellious behavior, running away
  4. Drug and alcohol use
  5. Unusual neglect of personal appearance
  6. Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
  7. Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  8. Not tolerating praise or rewards

Source: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Suicide in the elderly

The highest suicide rates of any age group occur among persons aged 65 years and older. One contributing factor is depression in the elderly that is undiagnosed and untreated.

Other risk factors for suicide in the elderly include:

  • Recent death of a loved one, isolation and loneliness
  • Physical illness, disability, or pain
  • Major life changes, such as retirement or loss of independence
  • Loss of sense of purpose

Warning signs in older adults

Additional warning signs that an elderly person may be contemplating suicide:

  1. Reading material about death and suicide
  2. Disruption of sleep patterns
  3. Increased alcohol or prescription drug use
  4. Failure to take care of self or follow medical orders
  5. Stockpiling medications or sudden interest in firearms
  6. Social withdrawal, elaborate good-byes, rush to complete or revise a will

Source: University of Florida

More help for suicide prevention

 

Resources and references

General information about suicide

Understanding Suicidal Thinking (PDF) – Learn about preventing suicide attempts and offering help and support. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Suicide in America: Frequently Asked Questions – Find answers to common questions about suicide, including who is at the highest risk and how to help. (National Institute of Mental Health)

Suicide and Mental Illness – Facts on the link between suicide and mental illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. (StopaSuicide.org)

Suicide and Preventing Suicide – Suicide fact sheets answer questions about who’s at risk and what friends and family can do to prevent suicide. (The National Alliance on Mental Illness).

About Suicide – Information on suicide warning signs & risk factors, statistics, and treatment. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

Helping a suicidal person

What Can I Do To Help Someone Who May be Suicidal? – Discusses possible warning signs of suicidal thoughts and ways to prevent suicide attempts. (Metanoia.org)

Handling a Call From a Suicidal Person – How to handle a phone call from a friend or family member who is suicidal. Features tips on what to say and how to help. (Metanoia.org)

Suicide crisis lines in the U.S.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

National Hopeline Network – Toll-free telephone number offering 24-hour suicide crisis support. 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). (National Hopeline Network)

The Trevor Project – Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Includes a 24/7 hotline: 1-866-488-7386.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – Free, confidential 24/7 helpline information service for substance abuse and mental health treatment referral. 1-800-662-HELP (4357). (SAHMSA)

txt4life – Suicide prevention resource for residents of Minnesota. Text the word “LIFE” to 61222 to be connected to a trained counselor. (txt4life.org)

Suicide crisis lines worldwide

Crisis Centers in Canada – Locate suicide crisis centers in Canada by province. (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention)

IASP – Find crisis centers and helplines around the world. (International Association for Suicide Prevention).

International Suicide Hotlines – Find a helpline in different countries around the world. (Suicide.org)

Befrienders Worldwide – International suicide prevention organization connects people to crisis hotlines in their country. (Befrienders Worldwide)

Samaritans UK – 24-hour suicide support for people in the UK and Republic of Ireland (call 116 123). (Samaritans)

Lifeline Australia – 24-hour suicide crisis support service at 13 11 14. (Lifeline Australia)

Coping after a suicide attempt

After an Attempt (PDF) – Guide for taking care of a family member following a suicide attempt and treatment in an emergency room. (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

 

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson. Last updated: April 2017.

30 Songs That Have Helped People With Anxiety and Depression at Night

posted in: Music | 0

 

Here’s a neat post from THE MIGHTY:

 

Nighttime has always been the most difficult for me. The “outside” world often serves as a great distraction from the internal battles I face during the day. But when I get home at night, the thoughts I’ve spent all day pushing to the wayside hit me like a freight train and semi-truck colliding — and I’m right there in the middle. My depression leaves me wondering what all of this is for while my anxiety causes my thoughts to spin endlessly. Meanwhile, all I want to do is rest.

So I put in my headphones to escape it all, if only for three minutes.

Music can be an incredibly effective coping mechanism. That is why we asked people in The Mighty’s mental health community who struggle with anxiety and depression to share a song that has helped them through the night. Because sometimes the only place to escape from the outside world, the inside world or the darkness of the night, are melodies and lyrics.

Here is what they had to say:

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7. “Wonderwall” by Oasis

“As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, it’s hard to get through a day, let alone a night. But one night, my husband sang it to me and told me when I’m feeling down to listen to it. It’s very calming. He said it will be like he’s there being my rock.” — Lizzie W.

8-30…….

If you liked this selection, the rest are at the main story here

 

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