Emergency Contacts, Lifelines, and Suicide Prevention Information and Resources

Suicide statistics in the U.S.

• Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages. (CDC)

• Everyday, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)

• There is one death by suicide in the U.S. every 12 minutes. (CDC)

• Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)

• Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)

• Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)

• 80%-90% of people who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and or medication. (TADS study)

• An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors. (AAS)

Resource:
https://save.org/about-suicide/suicide-facts/

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2017:

  • Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,000 people.
  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • There were more than twice as many suicides (47,173) in the United States as there were homicides (19,510).

Resource:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

No suicide attempt should be dismissed or taken lightly.


Why do people attempt suicide?

“A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. No matter the race or age of the person; how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.”

Resource:
https://www.mhanational.org/conditions/suicide


Do you know what to do if you think that someone is considering suicide?

If You Think Someone Is Considering Suicide:

• Trust your instincts that the person may be in trouble.

• Talk with the person about your concerns. Communication needs to include LISTENING.

* Listen to understand. *

You don’t have to know all of the answers or even some of the answers, just being with a person can be powerful.

• Ask direct questions without being judgmental. Determine if the person has a specific plan to carry out the suicide. The more detailed the plan, the greater the risk.

• Get professional help, even if the person resists.

• Do not leave the person alone.

• Do not swear to secrecy.

• Do not act shocked or judgmental.

• Do not counsel the person yourself.

Resource:
https://www.mhanational.org/conditions/suicide


List of national emergency resources for suicide prevention, substance abuse disaster distress, domestic violence, child abuse, adult and elderly abuse

Finish Stronger Counseling – Emergency Contacts and Lifelines

* Please note that this list may be subject to change as organizations, companies, and government update their websites and other information. *


Check out these charities and articles to find out how you can help

Charity Navigator


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


Very Well Mind – Leading Mental Health Charities and Organizations


The Recovery Village – Mental Health First Aid for Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors


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Ideas to Raise Awareness and Funds for Mental Illness

Awareness is great,

but taking action is ESSENTIAL.

Why is Raising Awareness for Mental Health Important?

Raising awareness is important because it becomes easier to identify mental illness, which leads to faster treatment, which then leads to better treatment results. One out of four people suffer from a mental illness, and it impacts EVERYONE, not just the person with the illness! This includes our family, friends and close community members. This is why it is important that we work together to raise awareness and break the stigma of mental illness.

By becoming more aware and knowledgeable of mental health, we can break the stigma, and mental illness might become easier to understand. Breaking the stigma means that we would be shifting negative misconceptions and behaviors of the community towards the positive side. Knowledge and taking appropriate actions towards accepting people struggling with a mental illness would make a HUGE difference.

Raising awareness for mental health is a PRIORITY because there is a high demand.

Read more about the importance of raising awareness here


Raising Awareness and Funds Ideas

  • Use artwork to spread the word: Graffiti party; make a sign for your yard; hang a poster for in the window of your house; hang a paper in your classroom; paint rocks and place them around the neighborhood or local park; use chalk to create messages on the sidewalk; yarn bombing; etc.
  • Create an athletic event: Local homerun derby; a race; a bowling tournament; cycle or run across your state or country; corn hole tournament; potato sack race; CrossFit or weightlifting competition; pushup competition; hiking event; golf tournament; frisbee golf tournament; triathlon; obstacle course race; etc.
  • Community: Neighborhood or church cookout; BINGO night; go kart race; school fair; school play; put on a concert; cinema night; plant a garden; dedicate a bench in memory of someone who passed away; scavenger hunt; hold a dinner and have a guest speaker; kite flying event; etc.
    • Write about mental health: share your story in a public space; write a blog, book or article; poetry; etc.
    • Media: use social media as a platform; create a short film; create an online photo gallery; etc.
    • Write about mental health: share your story in a public space; write a blog, book or article; poetry; etc.
    • Media: use social media as a platform; create a short film; create an online photo gallery; etc.

    Use your talent and creativity, the sky is the limit!

    Get involved with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

    • Plan an in-person fundraising event for your community.
    • Celebrate a milestone, special occasion or holiday by supporting NAMI in lieu of gifts.
    • Design your own online campaign to raise awareness and support NAMI.
    • Create a memorial page for a loved one you’ve lost as a meaningful, lasting tribute.
    • Undertake a physical challenge and keep yourself motivated by supporting NAMI.

    Additional Ideas on Taking Action

    Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  • Share your story, project (school projects, too!) or fundraiser. Visit the “Understand the Facts” section to learn more about anxiety, depression and other co-occurring and related mental health illnesses. Become a member of their online member community.

  • Article from Verywell that covers information on the leading mental health charities and organizations.

  • Learn how to be an advocate. Mental Health America National Institute of Mental Health, which is dedicated to clinical research, and they have free brochures, booklets and e-books that can help educate the public. National Alliance on Mental Health American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Child Mind Institute. This organization is an invaluable resource to parents. https://childmind.org/ Other resources

  • 5 ways to raise awareness during May (mental health month).

  • Take to social media to inspire others to get involved. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Use these hashtags to reach a larger audience: #MentalHealthMatters #MentalHealthAwareness #EndTheStigma #MentalHealthMonth #MHM #StigmaFree #IntoMentalHealth
  • Encourage others to share your posts
  • Encourage open communication
  • Share screening tools
  • Contact your legislators
  • Support advocacy efforts
  • For more details, follow the link

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness

  • How to get involved and become a leader.
  • NAMI Walk
  • Become a fundraiser
  • Attend a NAMI National Convention
  • Pledge to be stigma free
  • Awareness events
  • Partner with NAMI
  • Share your story
  • More! NAMI is awesome

  • GoFundMe tips on making a larger impact with your fundraiser.

  • Mental health fundraising
  • Expand your knowledge
  • Start a conversation
  • Craft care packages
  • Share your story
  • Go social
  • Host a community-wide fundraising event
  • Go to the website to learn more details and to create a mental health fundraiser.
  • Visit their other resources.
  • Mental health fundraising spreads joy and positivity.

    Physical Challenges

    Mental Health America’s #4Mind4Body Challenge

  • This is such a cool challenge.
  • Something for everyday in the month of May.
  • It will positively impact your life… and maybe even those around you.
  • Learn about #MindfulMonday #TastyTuesday #WorkplaceWednesday #ThoughtfulThursday #FitnessFriday #StressFreeSaturday #SleepWellSunday
  • Mental and physical wellness; eating; mindfulness; anxiety triggers; sleep; motivation; gratitude; brain; inspiration; celebration; thoughtfulness.

  • Pushup Challenge

    I took on the 25 Pushups for 25 Days Challenge to raise awareness for mental health and suicide (including suicide prevention), you can read about how to do the challenge here and also watch my pushup videos.

    View my Pushup Challenge on YouTube. The video contains statistics on mental health and suicide

    Walks

    MentalHelp.net An American Addictions Center Resource’s fun ways to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.

  • NAMI Walks
  • Out of the Darkness Walks
  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • I Rock the Walk for Mental Health Awareness, Active.com group.

  • NAMI Walks

  • A National Day of Hope
  • Tools and resources to magnify your efforts.
  • There are THOUSANDS of participants and MILLIONS of dollars raised.

  • More Organizations to Visit

    REHABSPOT

  • Substance use can be a roadblock for many people.
  • Free self-help resource about drugs, alcohol, addiction, and recovery.
  • The benefits of rehab and about services.

  • Charity Navigator Your Guide to Intelligent Giving

  • Disasters and natural disaster support
  • COVID-19 top nonprofits
  • Humanitarian and civil rights
  • Protecting the environment
  • Thank you for your efforts.

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    3 Mindful Strategies to Increase Positivity During Hard Times

    Limit Exposure

    • Limit the time you’re exposed to the situation. Be informed, but limit the amount of news, media, social media, that you take in. For social media, you can choose to follow and unfollow certain accounts and channels. Use social media to build yourself up, promote positivity, and connect with non-toxic people. Social media is a fantastic tool when used this way.

    Practice reframing thoughts

    • Reframe your negative and distorted thoughts. Read about cognitive reframing here. To begin dealing with negative thoughts, we must recognize when we have one. Next, is to identify what triggered the emotion. Our thoughts and emotions are linked. Notice whether you are ignoring, minimizing, or exaggerating the situation. Challenge your thoughts, be curious about them. Keep in mind that thoughts are just thoughts and not fact. The final step is to reframe. Rewrite the thought so that it is no longer negative, personal, permanent, and pervasive. With the practice of reframing our thoughts, over time, positive thinking becomes a biproduct.

    Allow yourself to feel peace

    • Let peace begin with you. What can you do or think that makes you feel peaceful? A few ways to begin feeling peaceful may include, guided meditation, going for a hike or walk, drawing, working on a puzzle, journaling, etc. Allow yourself to feel peace and notice what it feels like.

    Limiting exposure to news and social media, reframing thoughts, and finding peace are 3 mindful ways to increase positivity, but there are other paths out there, as well. Participate in 2 to 3 mindful activities for a few weeks or a month to see what you enjoy. Build a mindfulness skillset to use during hard times.

    If you would like to work on this with someone, reach out to a professional counselor who can help.

    Would you like some positive affirmations? Visit a past article, Positive Affirmations to get through a Crisis or Difficult Time and download my free sheet.

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    Live Now

    One way to lift your spirits (taken from the book High Hopes by Patrick Lindsay)

    ‘Live Now’
    Refuse to let time dictate your day. Lose track of it. Immerse yourself in whatever you’re doing. Surrender yourself to the activity. Commit your full attention. Notice the difference.” ~ Patrick Lindsay

    “The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.” ~ Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) (1694-1778)

    Learn about the book here.

    Idea for if you work with teens

    Years ago, I worked with teens at an inpatient home as a milieu counselor. I did this for two years. We had a big white board and I would pull something appropriate from High Hopes and write it on the board. The teens enjoyed that and would sometimes write it in their journal or decorate around it using dry erase markers.

    If you work with teens, I have found that this gentle approach to engaging with teens is easy and can be inspiring. Some days, something I would write seemed to spark people who appeared to be really struggling, as I’d catch them looking at the board and writing in their journal. Occasionally, I observed a boost in positive emotions and peer interactions following.

    You don’t have to use this book, there are plenty of good books to pull inspiration from and share with others. I do prefer this method over looking up quotes online. Quotes online seem to repeat themselves and you don’t always know the credibility or who said what. High Hopes is a small book, so it fit in my full bag that I’d take into work.

    I hope that this article inspired you.

    Be well.

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    4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety

    People are under an increased amount of stress due to the ongoing pandemic, which has no concrete ending. People who don’t have a mental illness disorder, such as anxiety, are also experiencing mental health vulnerabilities during this time. They report having issues like difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering things, sleep disturbance, and decreased mood.


    4 “M”s in mental health

    • Mindfulness
    • Mastery
    • Movement
    • Meaningful connection

    Mindfulness

    Mindfulness is living in the present moment in a non-judgmental way, and practicing it fosters awareness. People who have completed a mindful activity say that they feel more calm and peaceful afterwards. Download and use mindfulness apps on your phone, follow along on a YouTube video, and try a variety of other mindful activities like the three below. Building mindfulness takes practice because it is a skill.

    Read about what mindfulness is here.

    Mindfulness 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Grounding Technique

    Mindfulness Walk Activity

    10 Minute Guided Mindfulness Meditation for Anxiety YouTube video.


    Mastery

    Mastery is about engaging your mind and doing what you’re good at. Ways of engaging can be tasks as simple as cooking and cleaning. Other ways of engaging your mind include creative writing and expressing yourself through art or music. Mastery can be thought of as a form of distraction. Lastly, it can be thinking about what we have already overcome in life.


    Movement

    Physical movement, such as walking, weightlifting, running, hiking, yoga, writing, painting, playing an instrument, and dancing are all ways to keep moving forward. Movement helps our minds de-stress and feel better. Another benefit is that mood is boosted.


    Meaningful Connection

    Stay connected to people. If you can’t meet in-person, then stay in-touch through video chatting, social media, phone calls, and sending letters in the mail. Another idea of staying connected is by having a digital picture frame and sharing the “add photos” link with your extended family. Then, extended family members can upload pictures to your frame. This is a good way to see what they (and their pets) have been up to.

    Nixplay picture frame


    These four tips take 10-15 minutes per day and everyone can apply them.

    We should be taking advantage of mental wellness strategies like these daily to build up resiliency and improve overall wellbeing. Everyone should have mental health preparedness for situations like the pandemic. People need a list of resources and coping strategies. People should also re-engage with their mental health treatment professional or seek out one if counseling is new to them. Needing support from a professional does not mean that you are weak.

    Watch psychiatrist, Sue Varma’s 03:31 video, practical tips to reduce anxiety here. The video is from March, 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic, however it is still applicable today.

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    Finding Affordable Mental Health Counseling

    You can find the right outpatient private practice counselor for you at an affordable rate, you just need to know how to go about doing so.

    Almost everyone shops around looking for the right counselor who either accepts their insurance or that they can afford to see if they pay out-of-pocket. A breakdown in the process of seeking help occurs when someone finds out that the counselor doesn’t accept their insurance or their rate isn’t within their out-of-pocket budget, the person tends to cutoff the conversation right there. They hang up the phone or don’t reply to the email. Unfortunately, people will fully end their search because they aren’t sure what else there is to do.

    Remain hopeful

    There are alternative and proactive ways to maintaining the conversation when you find out that the counselor doesn’t accept insurance or the rate isn’t within budget. Ask questions.

    Ask the counselor these questions

    * Even if you want to use your insurance, keep your options open by considering out-of-pocket because part of your goal is to find a counselor who is the right fit to work with. Therapy can be a great experience with the right professional… laughter is allowed in therapy. When someone closes off the out-of-pocket option, they’re also possibly preventing finding the person who they feel comfortable talking to. *

    • Do you offer a lower rate?

    • Do you offer a sliding scale?

    • Do you offer pro-bono?

    • Can you recommend anyone who may be able to help?

    • Do you offer other services that might be able to help me?

    Counselors are open and willing to talk about fees and other services. They aim to be non-judgmental and want to meet people where they are at. It doesn’t hurt to find out if they are able to meet you where you’re at financially.

    Keep on the lookout for free resources and tips that the counselor may offer. This could be an educational social media page, YouTube channel, blog that you could subscribe to, or ebook. Don’t pass up free resources, take advantage.

    Tip: stay organized

    Keep track of who you talked to, how to contact them, the questions you have, and their answers all in a notebook. Doing this will manage stress and remembering who said or offered what. Be mindful of where you keep your notebook to protect your confidentiality.

    Article on How to Find the Right Counselor

    Did somebody say free?

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    You Can Seek Help at Any Time: Rate Your Distress Scale

    Use this distress scale to help you stay more aware of how you are doing. The scale is 0 to 10, where 0 is that you feel at peace and are completely calm, and 10 is distress that is so unbearable that you cannot function. Refer to the scale, as-needed. If you find yourself rated at 4, where negative thoughts begin to impact you, consider talking to a mental health professional because it is better to get help sooner than later. Don’t allow yourself to be in a distressful state for too long. When you feel change is needed, take action and contact someone.

    Seek help from a mental health professional at any time, you do not need to be in distress to get help. A professional counselor can provide services for things such as managing stress and anxiety, examining thoughts and behaviors, support you in life transitions, and teach you how to strengthen your mind.

    0: Peace and complete calm

    1: No real distress, but a slight feeling of unpleasantness

    2: A little bit sad or “off”

    3: Worried or upset

    4: Upset to the point that negative thoughts begin to impact you

    5: Upset and uncomfortable

    6: Discomfort to the point that you feel a change is needed

    7: Discomfort dominates your thoughts and you struggle not to show it

    8: Panic takes hold

    9: Feeling desperate, helpless, and unable to handle it

    10: Unbearably upset to the point that you cannot function and may be on the verge of a breakdown

    Download this rate your distress scale below.

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    Potential and Possibilities on Bad Days

    Your day is still full of potential and possibilities even if:

    • The weather is nasty and you’re stuck indoors.
    • Your car got a flat tire on the way to work.
    • You received a negative report that was out of your control.
    • You didn’t get the job or raise.
    • A major household appliance broke.
    • You received bad news.
    • It seems like you’re not getting anywhere, no matter how hard you try.
    • You feel like you will never be good enough.
    • You forgot to pay a bill.
    • It seems like multiple things are going wrong at the same time.
    • And this list can go on…

    Tell Yourself

    • This day is full of potential and possibilities.
    • Your day can improve.
    • You can get outdoors another day.
    • A car tire can be replaced.
    • Good news will come soon.
    • You will find a job, this is only temporary.
    • Household items can be repaired or replaced, hang in there.
    • You have already achieved some goals, keep up the good work, you will continue to achieve.
    • Things can and will go right.
    • Not everything is bad, things are okay.
    • You have everything that you need right now, in this moment.
    • Come up with your own positive affirmation.

    Take Action, Make it Happen

    • Adopt a positive mindset, it is a powerful tool.
    • Look for alternatives. Find the potential and possibilities. Write them down as a reminder.
    • Make a list of things that you can do and then start doing. You can use your creativity.
    • Focus on the things that you can control.
    • Remind yourself that ruminating on negative events and worries doesn’t help and that you can do something about it.

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    “Unfinished Business” Letter

    To help resolve any unfinished business that you have with another person, write a letter. This may be written to a person who has hurt or wronged you, and who is no longer a part of your life. DO NOT ACTUALLY SEND THEM (or anyone) THIS LETTER, this letter is for YOU. Keep it confidential.

    I STRONGLY suggest doing this activity with a professional counselor and talking through the situation with them. They can support you.

    Writing this letter will help you to:

    • Reflect and process
    • Feel emotions
    • Think more slowly
    • Problem solve
    • Maybe to forgive the wrong-doer
    • Forgive yourself, if you need to
    • Put your thoughts and emotions to paper
    • Release pent up thoughts and strong emotions, like pain, sadness, and anger
    • Find some peace, healing and resolution
    • Empowerment and improve self-esteem
    • Increase self-care and self-love

    Format:

    There are no set rules for writing this letter. You may find it difficult to start this process, just dive right in. The letter can be edited and re-organized to how you would like. Start with the wrong-doer’s name, like you are writing a letter. If you’re unsure of how long your letter should be, try aiming to write one to three pages just to get an idea. Once you have that, you will better know if the letter should be any longer. The letter is to benefit you and to help resolve any unfinished business, the length of the letter doesn’t matter quite as much. End the letter with your name.

    Important things to think about including:

    • Things that you want the wrong-doer to know.
    • Anything that you want to say to them.
    • Talk about what they did to you.
    • Talk about how you feel.
    • Talk about your reaction to what they did.
    • Talk about the impact that it has had on yourself. What areas of your life have been impacted? How has it been changed?
    • Write about what you wish went differently.
    • Write about how you wish things ended with that person.
    • Is there anything that you could have done differently?
    • Allow yourself to be open to writing anything that comes up.

    This is a challenging exercise, so take a break if you need to, re-visit it. *Self-care is very important through this process.* Work on acknowledging your thoughts and emotions, know that they are natural and occur for a reason, but let them roll away (not sticking in your mind) as you write. Utilize coping strategies to reduce intense stress, anxiety, emotions, etc. Try to make sure that you’re in a good “mental space,” not overly anxious or panic when you write this. It is helpful to be able to think clearly and be focused. After you finish writing this letter, read it out loud to yourself. Reading it to yourself might be emotional because your brain will be processing the information slightly differently, hearing your own voice read what you wrote is powerful. Read it to a counselor, they will listen and be able to guide you. If you think that it would be beneficial reading it a second or third time, then do so. Notice if your thoughts and emotions changed the next time through. Lastly, when you are ready, you completed the letter and read it out loud, destroy the letter for resolution (and confidentiality). There is symbolism in destroying the letter. It isn’t returning. Allow yourself to be healed and empowered. Love yourself. Notice how you feel while destroying the letter and afterwards. Do you feel physically lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders? Do you feel empowered? Did you sigh in relief or smile?

    Once again, please talk with someone if you need to, don’t hesitate to reach out. It is rewarding to speak with someone, brain imaging research shows that talk therapy (psychotherapy) can be impactful right away.

    Download this exercise here

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    How to Get Through the Day When the World Seems to be Falling Apart

    These 12 tips are specific to living through a pandemic (COVID-19) where there are multiple tragic events and crisis occurring at once on a worldwide scale.

    A brief overview of the destruction that COVID-19 has caused

    • People are ill and dying from a virus.

    • People are socially isolated from family and friends.

    • People are restricted in where they can go and what they can do.

    • People have lost jobs and are financially unstable.

    – Connected to all of this is the person’s identity because people identify themselves through going out and participating.

    • Political issues, finger pointing and name calling are a big part of this pandemic.

    • People wear face masks to reduce spread of the virus, but the mask also hides smiles.

    • Anxiety, depression and suicide is on the rise.

    • People are silently hurting.

    The benefits of these tips are (but not limited to)

    • Increased happiness

    • Connection to others

    • Raising awareness

    • Fostering positivity

    • Finding value and meaning in life

    • Learning coping strategies

    • Finding help

    Keep in mind that this article isn’t telling you to ignore, dismiss, or minimize what’s going on around us. It is important to sit with the difficult emotions and thoughts, to process, and personally grow from what’s occurring in our lives. We can’t run, there needs to be a resolution to do something about it, but there needs to be a balance and healthy approach.

    Let’s cover the tips on getting through

    1) Limit your time on social media and watching the news. Be informed and have proper understanding about what’s going on around the world, but don’t allow the information to overwhelm and carry you away. The information on social media and the news shouldn’t occupy a good portion of your day.

    2) Mute or unfollow people on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if they are posting unhelpful information on the pandemic or are posting frequently on the pandemic. Always check the resource of what they post to make sure it is true and accurate. There is a lot of information being shared that is inaccurate or highly one-sided. Be your own researcher, fact-checker, and it is beneficial to try to see from both sides of an issue. Widening perspective allows us to have a more open mind and gives us a little more breathing room.

    3) Use social media and technology to your advantage. Since we have to limit being around others or can’t be around people at all, use social media to connect and to lift up others. Post something kind or funny. Post a beautiful picture. Have an engaging conversation, but leave out the pandemic and political issues surrounding it. You can lift someone’s spirit and your own!

    We use video platforms on almost a daily basis now, continue to use it to connect. Talk to a good friend who you haven’t seen in a while. Use video platforms to check-in with a person’s mental health, you don’t know who is suffering in silence.

    Are you feeling unsure about how to check-in? This link will lead you to check-in questions:

    https://finishstrongercounseling.com/2020/05/29/just-checking-in/

    Do you have a favorite hobby or interest? Join and follow social media groups and pages to motivate and fuel your interests.

    4) Virtual tours, adventures and visits. If you are looking for something new and interesting to do without leaving your house, take a virtual trip to a National Park, zoo, museum, etc. Think of somewhere that you’ve never been and would like to go. Read about it, look at pictures, watch videos, and take a virtual tour. This is fun activity to do with kids and it’s educational.

    If you’re religious or spiritual, consider attending a virtual service or practice.

    5) Teach someone about your hobby or trade. Write, blog, create social media content, and make a video to do so. Engage with people, answer their questions, and provide them with credible resources so they can learn more.

    5) Increase your self-care. Do more of what you enjoy and try new things, even if you don’t feel like it. Take care of your body and mind. Try to keep to a normal schedule, this includes proper exercise, diet, and staying hydrated. If you’re overwhelmed with work, schedule in self-care. Slow down, read a book, take a bath, watch a movie, call someone you care about.

    6) Make a vision board to stay focused on your long-term goals. Read how here:

    Vision Board

    7) Journal. Read about journaling here if it interests you:

    The Benefits of Keeping a Journal and Journal Prompts

    8) Practice mindfulness, breathing and or meditation. Find someone who provides these services online if you need help getting started. Create a YouTube playlist of relaxing music and sounds that you can practice to. Don’t give up if these exercises don’t immediately benefit you in an impactful way, it takes time to learn them. It’s a process.

    9) Use online presence to raise awareness or funds for a cause that you’re passionate about. Help people learn more, support people who need it the most, connect to others who care about the same thing as you. Feel good!

    10) Use positive affirmations and practice them regularly. Read more and find examples here.

    11) Have a safety plan and an emergency plan. For the safety plan:

    • Write down what triggers maladaptive behaviors.

    • Write coping strategies for each trigger that you can participate in right away.

    • Write down three positive affirmations or favorite quotes.

    • List three people whom you can trust to call and talk to and receive support from (Do ahead of time: make sure that they know they are on your safety plan list and tell them how they can best support you if you contact them.) (Ideas on how they can help: this can range from a phone call to recall favorite memories or to meet up for coffee.).

    • If your situation turns into an emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 or your local mental health crisis lifeline. Add these emergency phone numbers to your safety plan.

    Here’s a simple example of a safety plan.

    12) Speak with a professional counselor. They can teach you several coping strategies and powerful tools like cognitive reframing. They are someone who will be present with you, be non-judgmental, listen, and provide feedback. They will support you and give you space for you to process your strongest emotions and thoughts.

    Check out these other benefits to seeing a counselor:

    The Value of Seeing a Therapist: what does your therapist do when they’re not in session

    Give teletherapy a try, it is convenient and you receive the same mental health benefits as you would during an in-office session.

    If you’re not sure where to find a counselor, use a directory like Psychology Today or TherapyDen. There are several other counselor directories out there.

    These are only a dozen tips on getting through a pandemic and crisis. Share your ideas and tips below. Please share this article to reach others.

    Be well!

    Baker Trail, Cook Forest State Park, PA

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