Imagine yourself in the midst of a depressive episode. Everything seems hopeless and empty. You don’t know who to turn to for help, or if there is help. Your severe depression is overwhelming you and you’re beginning to have suicidal thoughts. You know you need help, you just don’t know where to begin. Thankfully, there is somebody you can call to begin and that somebody is on the other end of the line at the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Maybe this situation isn’t all that hard to imagine. Maybe you struggle with a depressive disorder or other mental health disorder that brings you to a breaking point more often than not. You may have noticed that, while you know exactly who to call incase of an emergency, like a fire, a break-in or accident, you certainly don’t have any clear idea of what number to call for a mental health crisis. While you recognize policemen, firemen and EMTs, looking for a uniformed mental health professional would, well, leave you searching. Thankfully, this may all be slowly changing for the better.
On July 16th, 2022, the United States federal government began phasing out the old Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number (800-273-8255) and introduced the new and far less clunky 988 number for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Not only does this make a resource for those struggling with mental health emergencies far easier to remember and use, it’s also a great first step towards better mental health awareness and care for all of us.
So what else can we do to spread awareness about the importance of mental health care?
Depression & Suicide Prevention
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With nearly half of the population struggling, perhaps one of the best things we can do is learn more about depressive symptoms and the warning signs of suicidal intentions. Many mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, panic disorders, substance abuse and other mental disorders can lead to suicidal ideation.
The following are warning signs for those that are at risk of suicide and/or may have untreated major depression:
- Talking about wanting to die or being a burden to others
- Feeling empty, hopeless, or without reason to live
- Eating and sleeping too little or too much
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Feeling depressed, agitated, or extremely angry
- Making plans or researching how to die
- Withdrawing from family, friends, and loved ones
- Taking dangerous risks
If you or a loved one have experienced any of these symptoms, it’s time to reach out for help. Call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number and seek care from a mental health professional. I open my doors to anyone living in Florida who is struggling with anxiety, depression, grief, and/or addiction. There is hope, even if you may not feel hopeful at this moment in time. The best help you can give yourself is mental wellness, so take that step forward today and reach out.