There was a time in my life when I experienced major depression, and I can tell you, it was every bit as debilitating as the time when I got mono for 5 months. Thankfully, I was able to get support to move into an exponentially better place. And, I know from personal experience that mental health challenges are no joke.
So, for anyone out there who’s in a dark place, know that there are some amazing humans and organizations who are ready to help. Keep reading to find out more, and please share this one with your friends and family—you never know whose life you might save.
1—The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is ready to help all. the. time. anywhere.
If you’re at the point where suicide seems like the only way to get some peace, whether from something that’s happening in your world or in your mind, put this number on speed dial. Seriously.
The people who set up and staff 24/7 hotlines like this get it. And they’re there, whether you’re in despair at 3AM, or 1 in the afternoon, or any time in between. You won’t be bothering anybody to call and talk.
In fact, they’ll be glad to hear from you because sitting by a quiet phone for a long time is kind of boring. Seriously, this is why people created and staff hotlines: to help. So if you or someone you know needs support, call. The people who love you will thank you later.
2—A Friend of Mind helps bolster mental health in Birmingham
Here are some startling statistics from this Hoover-based group’s website:
- 2.8 million people between the ages of 12-17 have at least one major depressive episode
- 2-15% of people who have major depression die by suicide
- 25% of people between the ages of 13-18 experience an anxiety disorder
- 6% of 13-18 year olds suffer from “severe” anxiety
- 10% of people between the ages of 3-17 have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10 – 24
- Cutting and other self-harm begins between the ages of 12-15; girls are more likely to engage in self-harm than boys
What’s awesome about this group is that they get that mental health doesn’t exist in a vaccum, and they offer creative solutions to challenges.
A Friend of Mind (AFM) was created to help youth accept and manage their mental illness and eliminate mental health stigma. Find out more about how they do this and how to get involved here.
2—The Crisis Center Birmingham’s crisis line is ready to help with mental health and suicide prevention 24/7
If you’ve ever uttered the words “but suicide is just so selfish,” you need to listen to my friend Sarah aka Pepper Brooks’ amazing song (above).
Once you’ve done that, know that The Crisis Center is staffed with some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met. And they work hard, day in and day out, to help people in crisis or struggling with mental health issues.
Their services help people cope and find their way back to emotional health and well-being. No small feat. And they do it soooo well.
If your call is suicide related and the number is busy, though, call that national number we told you about earlier: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
3—The Out of the Darkness Alabama Walk Nov. 3, 2:30-4PM at Veterans Park on Valleydale Road is for suicide prevention—and for those of us who have lost someone to suicide
One of the worst things that happens when you lose someone to suicide, as s many of us have, is that you’re just left with a big gaping hole of sadness and not much to do with it.
The #OutoftheDarkness may be the thing you’ve been looking for. I’m personally planning to go in honor of a friend.
- What: raise awareness and funds for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Plus, they have a bunch of awesome activities of hope and healing.
- When: Sunday, November 3, walk begins at 2:30PM, registration at 1PM
- Where: Veteran’s Park, 4800 Valleydale Road, Birmingham
- Find out more here and register here
4—ASPARC: The Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Coalition offers two key programs related to suicide
QPR Gatekeeper Training
QPR stands for question, persuade, refer, and the QPR Institute has created trainings that ASPARC can provide for public or private professional groups or schools. These trainings can be online, in a classroom, or combined, depending on the needs of the groups. Request this training here.
“Lay My Burdens Down”
While belonging to a religious community can be a protective factor against suicide, it can also be complicated when someone does commit suicide. Longtime prohibitions against taking one’s life have left many family members grieving in a complicated stew of silence, shame and stigma.
ASPARC works to create a different reality. You can request this training here.
5—There are so many national and even international organizations that are ready and waiting to provide education, support and encouragement
Here are six:
- Active Minds is changing the conversation around mental health for students and young adults ages 14-25
- Half of Us is a great starting point for young people who want help for themselves or a friend, whether they’re dealing with addiction, anxiety, social media problems, trauma, or more
- Black Youth Project: with sections on News, Politics, Race, Culture, Gender & Sexuality, and Education, there’s something for everybody here
- Befrienders.org: so I was just listening to a song from the musical Dear Evan Hansen and the cast did a promo for this organization that provides emotional support to prevent suicide worldwide. They have helplines across the globe, which is pretty awesome.
- No More Martyrs is a mental health awareness campaign committed to building a community of support for Black women with mental health concerns.
- Yes I Have a Therapist is a wellness advocacy group for women of color that promotes healthy practices of wellness by promoting local and national resources. They dismantle mental health stigmas by hosting conversations and conferences. They stand for black women by creating safe spaces and promoting women to be their whole selves