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You Are Not Alone

Suicidal ideation is a medical term used to describe when someone has begun having thoughts about committing suicide. Sometimes these thoughts might be fleeting in nature, and other times the thoughts may persist until the individual begins to formulate a plan.

According to recent data, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15 and 24 years. And suicide accounts for 1% of deaths in America.

Suicide has a ripple effect. In fact, the American Association of Suicidology estimates that each suicide intimately affects at least six other people.

Thoughts of suicide are usually a result of prolonged depression, severe anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, and feelings of hopelessness. Not all people diagnosed with these conditions become suicidal; however, many people who experience suicidal ideation do not die by suicide, though they may exhibit suicidal behavior and even make an attempt.

What is a Crisis Intervention?

Crisis intervention is a short-term emergency response to someone who is experiencing intense emotional or mental distress. This form of therapy is an effective way of restoring the person’s equilibrium and biopsychosocial functioning. Doing so reduces the potential for long-term trauma.

Crisis interventions are typically conducted by trained and certified crisis intervention counselors that work at hospitals, drug rehab centers, and mental health clinics. These trained mental health workers do not provide typical cognitive-behavioral treatments or anything on a long-term basis. Instead, they offer short-term interventions to help their clients become stable.

Therapy After Crisis Intervention 

People don’t become suicidal overnight. There were days, weeks, and months of struggling with stress, depression, trauma, and/or anxiety to get to that place. Once and only when the initial crisis has been fully remediated, and once the initial crisis therapy has occurred, it will be important for the individual to receive continued mental health care. This will help the individual identify the underlying causes of their suicidal ideation.

 

If you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, please seek immediate attention.

Written by Sherline Herard

About the writer: Sherline graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Sherline’s therapeutic approach is catered to each individual client’s needs. Sherline enjoys assisting clients in finding their strengths which reside within, in order to set achievable goals for their lives.

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There is Still Hope

“There is hope even when your brain tells you there isn’t” – John Green

Hope is a beautiful feeling; it is having expectations for something out of life or love. Our hope as kids was so much bigger, the world was our oyster. We were optimistic about life, we would dream of becoming president, a doctor, a lawyer, and a veterinarian. We dreamt of finding true love or finding happiness in life without worry. Our dreams dwindled as the years came and went and with each changing season, we grew older.

Do not let the spark in your eyes dwindle. Keep that hope for life and love alive. Try to find the positive in life even when it seems like life keeps knocking you down. It is okay to want positive outcomes out of horrible situations. When things are not going our way, we feel bad about ourselves, and we focus on the negative. We worry about the future and what could happen causing our bodies to go through stress and anxiety when it hasn’t happened yet so we either go through it twice or unnecessarily. Try focusing on the positive things in life, big or small. Remind yourself, the sun always comes out after a storm. Hope is everywhere, hope is not lost, hope is the last thing that is lost in life.

Written by Rachel Gonzalez

Let’s Talk Mental Health

Life is not remorseful; it is continuously moving forward. It makes no excuses for anyone. Life does not stop when we need more hours during the day to finish that last project at work or homework assignment. Life goes on when we are grieving the loss of a loved one or experiencing heartbreak. The everyday activities that fill up our days like cleaning the house, tending to the kids, cooking for the family, cutting the grass, or paying the bills that have been piling on the counter can be stressful. It is difficult to have that perfect balance of our work life with our personal life and make sure we are making time for ourselves. All we want to do is stop time so we can just catch our breath. We all have wished once in our lives that life came with instructions.

In the moment of struggle, our problems seem bigger than the world itself with no solution in sight. The weight of the world is on our shoulders, we feel like it is slowly crushing us to the point of suffocation. We keep it bottled up because we feel that we are a bother or no one will understand us, so our feeling of loneliness grows. Our worries keep increasing like a cup gradually being filled to the brim, drop by drop until it overflows. The stresses of life can be overwhelming and can feel like it is consuming us.

We need to be able to listen to our bodies telling us to slow down. Having a fit mental health is beneficial to release endorphins and decrease stress and anxiety from our lives. Be able to step back, unplug from the world to be able to reconnect with ourselves. Take an hour during the day where you just sit in silence, close your eyes, and take deep breaths. Do things that help you cope in healthy ways, taking a stroll outside, eating a healthy meal, journaling your feelings, picking up hobbies that interest you, or getting a goodnight’s sleep. Do not neglect your mental health, especially during these times. Keeping a fit mental health starts with you.

Written by Rachel Gonzalez

The Little Girl Who Grew Up to Be You

I have been fascinated by this phrase – the little girl, or the little boy who grew up to be you. Think about that little kid, the one who ran around playing, going to school, trying to figure out how to get along in your family. That little child is still in you, still trying to figure out what happened, and how to negotiate the path before you. You carry that precious little person everywhere you go. The problem is, you don’t always take care of that child.

I used to meet with a small group of men on Thursday mornings. We met to talk about our inconsistencies, not the problems with the world, or with our wives, but the problems we brought into the mix. How can we be more true to our principles? — I remember telling them what I felt inside. I felt that I was a six-year-old boy in first grade, being hurt and confused, and trying just to get along, to meet expectations, to do well in a place where things were never quite clear. Guess what? They all nodded in agreement. We are all still trying to figure out what to do next, making mistakes, and hoping we won’t be punished or ignored.

Later, I would learn a technique that addresses the pain I feel every day. These were the pains of embarrassment, rejection, lack of self-confidence, and a hundred other things that keep me from having peace in my soul. This technique brings out the little boy who grew up to be me.

Take an average counseling session. Say that a woman is struggling with self-confidence at work. Her boss criticized her, a colleague puts her down in subtle ways, or she is nervous about a big assignment. Something happened last Tuesday that made her feel awful, either angry, afraid, or made her feel like giving up.

It takes 45 minutes to tell the story and begin to work through what happened and how it made her feel. This is how we talk therapy, what we call counseling. There is comfort in just getting it all out, and in finding validation. You are not crazy. It did happen, and it should not have. You are more than what they say you are. That is true.

And underneath all that, there is the little girl who grew up to be you. We can take what you felt last Tuesday, when you were put down by yourself, or by others — and we can find the moment in your childhood, the moment when you were put down and first felt so inadequate. In that moment you were astonished by how inadequate you were. Someone who was supposed to love you, they let you know that you were no good at all. It was crushing.

That little girl – the little girl who grew up to be you – she is still there inside. She has worked all her life to live up to expectations, to be good enough. And last Tuesday when someone criticized you, she was awakened, and she was hurt. She is right there, sad, and angry because she has tried so, so hard to meet expectations.

Let me ask you to do one thing. Be kind to that little girl. Love her. Pick her up and give her a hug. Smile at her. Look at her in the eyes and tell her out loud – “You are so pretty, so smart, so good. I love you.” You can do this with a teddy bear, any stuffed animal. Put your little girl out there and hold her close.

From this little boy who grew up to be me, to the little kid who grew up to be you – God bless your little heart. There is more to therapy than this. We can find not only validation for what you feel, but we can change how you feel in those hurting places. We can find meaning.

 

Written by David Hall, LMHC

-Retiring from emergency medicine, David Hall returns to his first love, counseling. His passion in life is to heal people from their trauma caused by life circumstances and from painful emotions.

Taking Therapy

We all talk about going to therapy.  Having to go to therapy can mean going to an in-person session with a therapist in their office or finding a quiet place where you feel safe and comfortable to log on to a secured link for a virtual visit.  But what we may or may not talk about is taking therapy.

It is equally as important to the process of working on our mental health to not only show up for therapy but to take what is learned in therapy with us. The therapeutic process involves building a relationship in which you feel comfortable sharing some of the most uncomfortable aspects of your life or yourself. This can take time, but during this process, there is a lot to be gained as well. The act of speaking your fears, concerns, and troubles aloud allows you to acknowledge them and begin the working phase of therapy.

This phase is what the name implies, work.  But remember, you sought therapy because you wanted to improve how you are feeling.  So, this requires you to be open to change. If everything in your life, including you, remain the same you will have the same problems. This seems simple, but taking the insight gained in therapy back into our day-to-day lives requires us to be mindful and to make new or different choices. This is what it means to take therapy. Taking therapy into each minute of your day and especially into those difficult moments when change is needed the most, it may be work but it may also be fun and restorative!  These changes can lead to relief, more happiness, less stress, and an improved outlook on life. Taking therapy is an investment in your well-being and your future.

The first step is going to therapy, the next step is taking what you learn there back out into the world with you.

Written by April Daniel

Benefits of a Mental Health Day from Work or School

We’ve all had those days when the alarm goes off and we lie in bed, feeling depleted of our energy, and maybe even our good mood. We think to ourselves, “I’m not really sick, but I just need a break from real life today.” While taking a sick day is common when you are feeling physically unwell, what’s not as common – but perhaps should be – is taking a mental health day when you are feeling mentally and emotionally unwell.

Now many, if not most, companies do offer their employees personal days with no questions asked. But many people save these days for what seems like real-life emergencies. They feel guilty if they use one of these days to simply rest and relax their mind.

The truth is, taking a mental health day from work or school can be extremely important for your overall well-being. It can help you avoid burnout, improve your mood, help you get some much-needed rest, and rejuvenate you so you can tackle “real life” once again.

Signs It’s Time for a Mental Health Day

So how do you know when you are really in need of a mental health day and when you’re just feeling a bit lazy and unmotivated?

Stress

You’ve been feeling overwhelmed and irritable.

You Just Feel… Off

Sometimes we don’t feel like ourselves, but we can’t quite put our finger on what’s wrong. We know we feel anxious and like the world is a bit too much. This is a sure sign you need a break.

Getting Sick More Often

Are you dealing with a cold that “just won’t go away?” When we are stressed, our immune systems become compromised, and it’s harder for us to fight off the common cold.

The bottom line is you should never feel guilty for taking some time for your mental health. I encourage you to take a mental health day every once in a while. Sometimes it’s the absolute best thing we can do for ourselves.

And if you find a mental health day didn’t quite do the trick, you may have more going on in your life that requires more hands-on treatment. If you like the idea of speaking with someone about whatever is bothering you, please get in touch with me so we can discuss treatment options.

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