426b4b02-d81c-4016-9e5d-be3e44f64642.jpg

​Ways that you can help shift the tides for Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness

I would be remiss if I sent a note without mentioning the recent losses in our world that we have experienced due to suicide. I recently read an article that said for every person we lose to suicide, there are another 280 who consider it…..

Of course there’s the people we know of because who make the headlines, Robin Williams, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Jeff Alm & Junior Seau (professional athletes) and of course most recently, Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain.

Oftentimes, we look at celebrity figures and say, “They have everything - fame, success, money, what do THEY have to be depressed about?”

That’s the key - Mental Illness does not discriminate. If you’ve ever battled clinical depression you well understand, it’s not just a pull up your socks, it will all be better tomorrow kind of situation. Feelings of despair, unworthiness, grief and lethargy can linger for weeks, months or even years. And the emotional pain can becomes so intense that people struggle to cope.

I remember when I was first grappling with depression. One of the most powerful things I discovered was that in order to help myself heal, I needed the support of the people around me. But there’s a catch 22 there - oftentimes people who have never struggled with mental illness can’t understand it. It’s not their fault - we understand things through our experiences, and when people haven’t had an experience, it’s not always easy to empathize with another persons trials. In my 20’s, I alienated some dear friends, one in particular comes to mind, she said to my brother that I was too distressing to be around. I get it, I was a mess! There was a fundamental difference between her and the people who stood by me.

The people who stayed close to me, took the time to understand because I took the time to speak to them about what depression was which helped them to understand what was going on. The key here is having enough awareness when you’re in the thick of it to have these deep discussions. It’s not always easy which brings me to another point.

It was my therapist at the time, who invited my father into a session to help us explain to him what depression meant and what was going on. This experience helped me to set a framework to have this discussion with the people close to me since then. It’s important that we educate the people around us

That therapist was a smart lady and I was lucky to have had such a professional who helped me to create a strong support system.

Which leads me to my next point.

I think one of the issues that we can observe in people who are struggling is the isolation and the loneliness that they feel. In addition, one of the biggest challenges is seeking treatment. If you’re in the spotlight and you seek help, then you run the risk of having that information become public.

If you’re not living in the spotlight, there can be so many other issues like finances, finding resources, scheduling appointments, managing medications, and dare I say Insurance coverage. Before “Obamacare,” I was uninsurable because Bipolar Disorder was considered a pre-existing condition. In order to afford my medication, I have to get it shipped from Canada because it’s $7 a pill in the U.S. I had an allergic reaction to the generic…. In addition, most healthcare plans don’t have the necessary coverage for someone with a mental health condition who needs weekly counseling, doctor supervision for medications and drug coverage.

So we’re stuck asking, why are people living with so much pain? Taking their lives?

And self-medicating with substances? I think the answers and the solutions are clear.

  • We need a little more education about mental health.
  • We need a little more empathy and kindness for those who are struggling.
  • We need a little more information about resources for healing.
  • We need a little more fiscal support for people who can’t afford treatment.

What can you do to help?

  • Know the signs of depression.
  • Never judge someone who is struggling.
  • Offer information on resources to people (see a list below).
  • Check in with people, listen to them and let them know you care.

IF you are a suicide loss survivor, there are some amazing resources here.

https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/

IF you need someone to talk to try this 1-800-273-8255 - call or chat via the site

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/

And https://afsp.org/ has a lot of other amazing resources for support and low cost treatment options.

When we stand together we can create a light that helps every spirit to #ShineAgain.

Sending Love, Blessings and Healing Energy for all,

Meredith

All site content © 2018 Meredith Blis. Header photo by Jon Karr. Be your own kind of beautiful.