Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day set aside to raise awareness and to battle the stigmas that surround mental illness. Events will be held in at least 60 countries around the world, with this year's theme being "Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention." As I've written in my previous posts, the negative attitudes people have toward mental illness prevents those in need from seeking and receiving the treatment they need. It dissuades friends and family from addressing their loved ones' mental illness and encouraging them to seek help. In some cases, even ignorance or prejudice among medical professionals can prevent patients from receiving appropriate treatment.
In order to reduce the stigma, we must all become more educated and more comfortable with discussing mental illness. We must also become more comfortable listening to those who are in need and reaching out to those who may not ask for help.
Below is a list of links I've complied that provide information on mental health and suicide. Some are more general while others are geared toward certain groups such as parents or teens. I've also included a list of links and phone numbers for crisis hotlines and chatlines. It is not only essential that we become more knowledgeable and compassionate, but also to become familiar with where to turn to help if someone we know and love is in crisis.
Trevor Project - Crisis and Suicide group for LGBT Youth and those who may be questioning their sexuality
IMAlive Online Crisis Center (chat instead of talk on phone) https://www.imalive.org
Youth America Crisis Hotline 1-877-YOUTHLINE
National Hopeline Network 1-800-442-HOPE
National Suicide Prevention LIfeline 1.800.273.TALK
Crisis Hotline (also for family members) 1.800.784.2433
Friendship Line 800.971.0016 (24 hour hotline for elderly and disabled and family members)
Several of these hotlines have opportunities for regular people to volunteer and help. With so many people in the world who are hurting--for that matter, with so many people right around us who are hurting--there is always someone who needs a compassionate ear.
If you are seeking additional information and have not been able to locate it, please leave a comment below, and I will be happy to research it for you.