How To Be A Resource For A Friend In Need

How To Be A Resource For A Friend In Need

34,000 people every year commit suicide. We can do something to help.
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Recently, I lost a close friend and co-worker to suicide. Coping for the first time with this incident, I kept thinking of ways and strategies to help my friend, to prevent what happened. In my mind, I was imaging talking to him and convincing him that there are more options for him, there were different ways to handle whatever he was feeling. Then, I realized there was no use in doing any of that. What happened is over now, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Taking in this information, that there was nothing left I could do anymore and that did not sit well with me. I could not shake the feeling of "I wish I prevented it," "I could have done something," and "this didn't have to happen." So I decided the only way I could fully get over what happened, move on and have a peace of mind, was to actually prevent it from happening again. I sat down and researched, dedicated as much time as I could, to find useful and effective strategies and resources to prevent and provide awareness to suicide.

To spot a friend in need:

I was shocked when I found out. I had in no way seen it coming. When I picture my friend, I pictured him always smiling, being happy, and fully enjoying his life. I did not see the pain and suffering he silently had to go through alone.

Annmarie Dadoly wrote in her blog, "Suicide is forever, but the stress leading up to it is often temporary": "Many suicides (estimates range from 30% to 80%) are impulsive, with just minutes or an hour elapsing between the time a person decides upon suicide and when he or she commits the act." So, how can you tell someone is having suicidal thoughts, when they probably haven't even had them yet?

Dadoly's colleague, Patrick J. Skerrett, listed different warning signs that aren't easily found in his blog, "Suicide often not preceded by warnings". These include:

  • an episode of depression, psychosis, or anxiety
  • a significant loss, such as the death of a partner or the loss of a job
  • a personal crisis or life stress, especially one that increases a sense of isolation or leads to a loss of self-esteem, such as a breakup or divorce
  • loss of social support, for example, because of a move or when a close friend relocates
  • an illness or medication that triggers a change in mood
  • exposure to the suicidal behaviors of others, such as friends, peers, or celebrities.

People struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression rarely seek help, which is a common warning sign of someone on the verge of committing suicide. ULifeline, an electronic resource for college students to have access to the information they need to information on their mental health, gives a list of signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped or like there’s no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life
  • Prior suicide attempts

How to convince your friend to get help:

David Susman PhD., keeps an online blog about mental health and wellness. In one blog post in particular, called "8 Reasons Why People Don’t Get Treatment for Mental Illness", he wrote about his analytical finding from the World Health Organization that stated, "Between 30 and 80 percent of people with mental health concerns never receive treatment." David says people don't receive treatment for various reasons, such as fear of the shame, lack of reasonable insight, complete hopelessness and other reasons.

To really get a friend help, the best you can do is convince them they are worth being helped. Specifically, people diagnosed with depression and anxiety, they have low self-esteems and consistent feelings of hopelessness, as if the world would be better off without them. They don't want help because they feel like they're not worth being helped.

Resources for help:

From online resources to programs, the amount of treatments and people out there willing to help is limitless. Some online programs are:

1. Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7 free and confidential support.

2. Lifeline Crisis Chat

This is also provided by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, except this is online chatting instead of having an over the phone conversation.

3. You Can NOT Be Replaced

This program is run by a high school, which accepts donations to host events for other high schoolers. The website offers newsletters that can be sent to your email, where you can receive constant updates on stories of hope and survivors recovering.

To find support groups near you, you can search for them through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

I am still sad, for lack of better terms, for my friend. I will continue to miss him, and his memories will never be forgotten. My hope for writing this is that no one will feel the way I do, or way my friend once did.

Cover Image Credit: Parade

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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How To Rock Your Natural Curly Hair This Summer & All Year Long

CALLING ALL CURLY HAIRED GIRLS: It's our season!

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All of your friends and your favorite famous idols all have long, straight hair. You take hours or get treatments on your natural curls to keep your hair straight, when in reality you are ruining the gorgeous curls that you should be rocking! I know it's hard to keep your curls under control, but with the right product and effort you can rock your curls all summer long. Curly hair is in! Here's how to rock your natural hair all summer long.

1. Coconut oil is your BFF.

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Whether it's in your conditioner or you use it as a spray or leave-in product, coconut oil is a great way to keep your hair shiny and frizz-free. For those of you who often straighten your hair, coconut oil can help tame and treat your damaged ends. Conditioners and products with coconut oil in them are always my go-to products. I would but this on this list 10 times if that would make you use it!

2. Stay by the pool.

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If my friends want to do something and I am having a bad hair day, I always suggest the pool. Not only can curls give you a beautiful thick messy bun, but my friends are always jealous of how good my hair looks in the pool. Curly hair, wet from the pool, is like a magic trick. Your hair will instantly look better.

3. Dye your hair!

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If you are like me and can't stand having your hair look the same 24/7, I have found dying my hair keeps me from wanting to straighten my hair or want to change it. Dying your curls will make whatever color you get really pop and keep you feeling fun and exciting in your natural hair journey. You don't have to do anything too drastic either! Sometimes so highlights or a lighter color is all you need.

4. Rock the pouf!

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Get that hair as big and crazy as you can get it, and ROCK IT! Don't let that volume and texture go to waste. Own your curls and wear them big.

5. Use a bandana or headbands for control & extra cuteness.

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When my hair gets a little more out of hand than I like, I opt for a headband or bandana to help style it. With curls, your hair has texture and can actually hold a headband in place. CVS and Walmart offer a large (and cheap) assortment of headbands and bandanas for all of your curly hair needs.

6. Braid parts of your hair to give your hair depth or add control.

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Sometimes a french braid on the side or over the top can not only make it look like you really took the time to style your hair, but also add control to your everyday look. I like to braid my hair when I know it is going to get frizzy or just want to slick down the top and rock a pouf in the back.

7. Invest in a good conditioner & hair mask.

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While you are relaxing with your face mask, why not do a hair mask at the same time? A hair mask is a great way to hydrate your curls and get them bouncy, conditioned, and frizz-free. You can find a variety of good hair masks for under 15$ and you can use them 2-3 times a week.

8. Get bangs... or just fake them!

Maddie Hilliard

This one is #RISKYAF, but you don't actually have to cut your hair to get bangs. I use bobby pins to pin up my hair to give the illusion that I have bangs. It is great when you want to switch up your look or rock a ponytail or bun. Which leads me to my next point...

9. Bobby pins, bobby pins, bobby pins!

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Use bobby pins to hold your hair in place and control your hair while you go for a messy look! I pin my bangs to the side with bobby pins or use them to hold certain pieces in place. They are especially helpful for updo looks!

10. Comb your hair while you're in the shower.

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To avoid breakage and breaking apart your curls it is always best to comb your hair while you're showering. You need to condition your hair (to avoid breakage) and comb the conditioner through it until all of the knots are out. If your hair keeps getting caught in the comb and the knots aren't coming out, put more conditioner in your hair to help. Finish your shower and then rinse the conditioner out at the end. And BAM! Tangle and frizz-free curls. PRO TIP: Use a wide tooth comb, never a brush!

11. Invest in a hair turban towel.

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You can get these on Amazon, at TJ Maxx, at CVS, and the list goes on. Instead of drying your hair with a regular towel and making it frizzy, wrap it in a hair turban to get the wetness out while keeping it moisturized. Hair turbans will help keep in all of the moisturizer and conditioner locked into your hair after showers.

12. Use scrunchies instead of hair ties.

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Not only are they super cute to wear on your wrist, but they also won't crease your curls if you need to tie them up quickly. Scrunchies are also great because they can be tied loose and not damage or smash your curl pattern. I haven't used a hair tie in years and don't plan on using one anytime soon.

12. Be proud & rock the f*ck out of your hair.

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Healthy and loved natural hair will never do you dirty. Love your curls because 9/10 people wish their straight hair had the same texture yours does! Curly hair is a whole look, let's start appreciating it more!

Love your natural hair and get inspired by all of the tips and pics of super fab curly hair!

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