If you need help now, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Protecting your mental health and catching signs of depression early is equally as important to your well-being right now as washing your hands, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing.
In honor of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we are sharing actions you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones grounded and supported.
5 Actions to Care for Others
Broaching the topic of mental health even with our closest friends and family can be difficult, but the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s #BeThe1To campaign offers concrete actions to look after loved ones who may be at risk:
- Ask: Talk to your loved ones about any troubling thoughts or feelings they are having. People who have suicidal thoughts feel relief when someone asks about them in a caring way.
- Keep them safe: Separate people at risk of suicide from anything they may use to hurt themselves.
- Be there: Sometimes just being there to listen is all it takes. People feel less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgment.
- Help them stay connected: Having a network of supportive resources and can help people at risk take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.
- Follow up: Provide ongoing contact to people who have displayed warning signs of depression or suicide, such as withdrawing, talking about hopelessness or feeling trapped, and acting anxious, irritable, or restless.
5 Actions for Self-Care
Mary’s Center Senior Clinical Manager of Behavioral Health, Gretchen Gates, MSW, LICSW, recommends these simple steps to maintain your own mental health:
- Get outside: It’s important to get fresh air and vitamin D at least once per day. Try going for walks, cloud-watching, stargazing, or just sitting outside to feel the sunshine on your face!
- Get some exercise: Try walking, biking or running outside for 20-30 minutes a day to manage stress and release happy hormones called endorphins. Or get the whole family moving indoors with an online workout video!
- Connect with your community: Talk on the phone with your loved ones, meet in a park with friends, or attend faith-based services online.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake at the same times each day, put technology away at least one hour before bedtime, and write down your stressors before bed so they don’t interrupt sleep.
- Try to eat healthy meals and drink water: Eating well-balanced meals and drinking enough water are key in keeping both mind and body healthy. Although it feels better in the moment, it’s best to avoid over-indulging in too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or other substances.
Above all, remember that you are not alone, and you can always ask for help. Mary’s Center’s team of skilled behavioral health therapists can work with you or your loved ones to overcome any mental health challenges you are facing. Learn more and make an appointment.