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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An Open Letter To The Girl Trying To Get Healthy Again

"I see you eating whatever you want and not exercising" - Pants
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Dear girl trying to get back in shape,

I know it's hard. I know the hardest thing you may do all day is walk into the gym. I know how easy it is to want to give up and go eat Chicken McNuggets, but don't do it. I know it feels like you work so hard and get no where. I know how frustrating it is to see that person across the table from you eat a Big Mac every day while you eat your carrots and still be half of your size. I know that awful feeling where you don't want to go to the gym because you know how out of shape you are. Trust me, I know.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College


The important thing is you are doing something about it. I'm sure you get mad at yourself for letting your body get this out of shape, but life happens. You have made a huge accomplishment by not having a soda in over a month, and those small changes are huge. I understand how hard it is, I understand how frustrating it is to not see results and I understand why you want to give up. Being healthy and fit takes so much time. As much as I wish you could wake up the day after a good workout with the 6 pack of your dreams, that just isn't the reality. If being healthy was easy, everyone would do it, and it wouldn't feel so good when you got there.

Remember how last January your resolution was to get back in the gym and get healthy again? Think about how incredible you would look right now if you would have stuck with it. The great thing is that you can start any time, and you can prove yourself wrong.

Tired of starting over? Then don't give up.

You are only as strong as your mind. You will get there one day. Just be patient and keep working.

Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want abs more than anything, and one day you woke up with them, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying as watching your body get stronger.

Mental toughness is half the battle. If you think you are strong, and believe you are strong, you will be strong. Soon, when you look back on the struggle and these hard days, you will be so thankful you didn't give up.

Don't forget that weight is just a number. What is really important is how you feel, and that you like how you look. But girl, shout out to you for working on loving your body, because that shit is hard.

To the girl trying to get healthy again, I am so proud of you. It won't be easy, it will take time. But keep working out, eating right, and just be patient. You will be amazed with what your body is capable of doing.

Cover Image Credit: Stock Snap

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And Damn Right You'll Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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