Because you matter.
With certain recent events shedding a light on the silent suffering that so many endure, it seems like a good time for a refresher on all of the resources out there for people who are struggling with their mental health.
Mental illness can go by many different names, but all of it is valid. Because you are SO important to this world, and because we need you here, there are many services out there focused on making sure that you are okay. Here are a few to keep in mind when the darkness starts to take over.
1. Your college's counseling center or health services center
Almost every college has a center where you can speak to a licensed professional about the things weighing on your mind. Some schools even bring in licensed psychiatrists who can discuss the different medicinal options available to you, if it is decided that that's the best path for you. Anyone from your RA, to your professor, to your Academic Advisor should be able to point you in the right direction for the mental health services at your school. Another option is to make an appointment with your school's health services center and speak to a nurse or doctor who can put you in touch with the right resources.
2. Your RA
RAs applied for their job because they want to help, and you may not be aware that most RAs have been trained in crisis management. While your RA is probably not a licensed therapist, they are equipped with the tools and resources to help you in a time of need. They will likely contact an external support representative, but they will remain with you to keep you safe in the meantime. While it may sometimes seem like all they're there for is to write you up, they are actually highly-trained resources who can make a big difference in a time of crisis.
3. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
This lifeline provides free, confidential 24/7 support for you and your loved ones in times of crisis or distress. All you have to do is call them at 1-800-273-8255. Sometimes it can be hard to reach out to those we know in times of trouble- I know firsthand the feeling of not wanting to "burden" them. But, you should know that 1. You are NOT a burden to your loved ones, and 2. If you choose to use the lifeline, you're speaking to people who dedicate their lives to this cause. You are not a burden.
4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, one quick phone call to 1-800-662-HELP (4357) can help refer you to local treatment centers, support groups, and other local community organizations. It's free to call, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
5. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline or Textline
Calling 800-950-6264 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org from Monday-Friday 10am-6pm can get you in touch with a sympathetic, supportive representative who can help you find resources in your community. You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to chat with a trained crisis counselor to receive support over text. This service is free and open 24.7.
6. National Domestic Violence Hotline
While not specifically mental health-related, it's important to know of the resources available to you in any time of crisis. By calling 800-799-SAFE (7233), you can get confidential support and information on resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
8. National Sexual Assault Hotline
Img source Another important resource to be aware of. By calling 800-656-HOPE (4673), you can speak with a trained staff member from one of your local sexual assault services. If you'd rather chat online, you can do that here for free, 24/7.
8. 911 (in an emergency)
Img source Many don't know that in times of mental health distress, you can dial 911, tell the operator that it is a psychiatric emergency, and ask for an officer trained in crisis prevention. This will connect you with someone trained in providing assistance to people experiencing psychiatric emergencies.
I've been there. I know how dark life can get, especially when your mental health is suffering. I know how a crisis can make you feel like you don't matter, or your life will never be okay again, or you're not worthy of living. But I got through those dark times, and you will too. Your school and community need you and want you here, and that's why they have the resources to make you okay. You are more important than you know, and this world needs you more than you'll ever understand. We need you here, and we need you to be okay. All it takes is a tiny step forward to reach out for help, and you'll be surprised at how quickly (and eagerly) help comes. There is sun behind the dark clouds, and I promise you'll see it soon if you reach out and ask for help. Asking for help is the strongest and bravest thing you can do.
We need you here. We need you here. We need you here.
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