By Amy Harth, Coffee Party Member and Volunteer
Some thoughts as we close out September, which is both suicide prevention month and chronic pain awareness month.
- It’s lovely to make generic posts about listening to people who have suicidal ideation. Please know that people with depression and other mental illnesses struggle with asking for help. If you know someone is dealing with these things, reach out regularly.
- People who do not have or do not appear to have suicidal ideation need you to reach out to them and offer support too. Support shouldn’t require worst case scenarios to offer or ask for help. People are often reluctant to ask for help until the situation is desperate. Your proactive contact can help people avoid some desperation and despair.
- What does reaching out look like? It’s sending a text to say hi. It’s inviting someone to an event. It’s telling someone why you are glad they are in your life. It’s the acts of friendship and being in relation to each other. You don’t need to be a therapist to be there for your friends.
- You can be a valuable supportive person to your friends and family. At the same time, you are not in control of how they feel or their decisions. Your love cannot eliminate mental illness. It’s not helpful to anyone to place that kind of pressure on yourself. Make sure you are getting support too. We all need it. People with mental Illness (and chronic pain) are more likely to find community together so it’s especially important to work toward sustainable supportive relationships.