Self care, stigma, and being a good ally to people living with mental health conditions

You are not defined by your mental health illness or the challenges you face with your mental health. Stigma can make people reluctant to seek help, and can also make them feel more alone. We must combat stigma associated with mental health, both in ourselves and others. 

– You can find resources on how to address mental health stigma here

Here are some resources for Survivors of suicide:

A Journey Toward Health and Hope: Your Handbook for Recovery After a Suicide Attempt is a book by SAMHSA that guides people through the first steps toward recovery and a hopeful future after a suicide attempt. It includes personal stories from survivors, and strategies for recovery, such as re-establishing connections and finding a mental health care provider.

Connections is an online platform where suicide attempt survivors or those who have experienced suicidal thinking can connect with other suicide attempt survivors to receive support and guidance as they embark upon their journey to recovery. 

Here are resources for people who love people who complete suicide:

Different ways to take care of yourself if you are struggling with the loss of someone close to you who has completed suicide. 

How to support someone who has lost a loved one to suicide. 

Friends for Survival is an organization dedicated to offering support services those who have lost a loved one, including a Suicide Loss Helpline at 1(800) 646-7322, which is available from 9am-9pm for seven days a week.

Even if you are not experiencing difficulties with your own mental health, it is important to be an ally to those who are. Educate yourself about signs and symptoms of suicidality and other common mental health conditions so that you can identify warning signs. 

– While not a diagnostic resource, some common signs of suicidality to be aware of can be found here 

– Listen with empathy and ask your friends and family how you can help if they are struggling. Some good practices when talking with individuals who are experiencing suicidality can be found here 

– Be mindful of your language (avoid stigmatizing terms like ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’)

Helping people with mental health conditions can be draining; it is important to take care of your own mental health as you support others (refer to the self care resources above)

Ideas for self care activities

A list of meditation and mindfulness apps (note, while most apps have a free version, many also have subscriptions/paid options)

A locator to help you find behavioral health treatment in your area can be found here