September is Suicide Prevention Month, and while suicide is a difficult topic to talk about, it is important to learn more about suicide prevention, and to educate others. Many people who intend to attempt suicide give some clues to the people around them: knowing those clues and what to do if you notice them can save a life.
Signs include talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, or withdrawing from social support. You should never assume that a loved one is not serious – make sure that you are listening to what they are saying. If someone you know may be at risk for suicide, learn to ACT.
Acknowledge that something is wrong. Let them know that what they are saying has you concerned.
Care by showing your love and support. People often consider suicide when they feel alone in the world or think they are not understood. Let them know that you are there to listen, and help them avoid dangerous situations. Caring includes asking the hard question, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” While many people worry that talking about suicide will give a person the idea, scores of studies show the opposite. It actually gives them an opening to talk about something with which they struggle.
Treat the problem. Most people who die by suicide are dealing with mental illness or other stressors that make them feel hopeless. There are many resources available to people who are having suicidal thoughts, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Learn more about suicide prevention by visiting StopASuicide.org. To check in on your own mental health, you can take a free, anonymous mental health screening at http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.
Show me someone who never gets stressed and I’ll show you someone who is kidding himself. Everyone experiences stress, even if they have different triggers. The good news is that you can control stress. Below are a few easy, positive steps you can take to wrestle control away from those stressors and get some peace of mind.
Move your body. There’s a reason that people say that taking a walk “clears your head.” Research shows that walking produces positive feelings — even if that walk is down a hallway. Of course, getting outside sunlight and taking in some nature is optimal, but if you can’t do that, just walk around the office.
Take deep breaths. Focusing on breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing out slowly through your mouth can imitate the relaxed feeling your body gets when it’s sleeping. Who doesn’t want that level of relaxation – especially when you’re stressed?
Practice acceptance. Next time you find yourself stressed out about something you can’t change, focus on acceptance. Long commute? Tell yourself you have accepted it, it’s part of your life, and you’re doing your best to make the most of it. Positive thinking is more empowering than you might think!
If stress is too much for you to manage, check your mental health with this screening at http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.
If you find yourself feeling drained and tired a lot, you probably think about your need to sleep more and eat well. While those things can certainly increase your energy, you may be surprised to learn about other things that may be taking your zip.
Procrastination can be a major drain on your energy and mood. Who wants to go about their day worried about a task they need to get done, but can’t seem to start? Look into ways to bust the procrastination habit and you’ll find yourself feeling peppier!
Spending time with people who complain a lot can also sap your energy. It’s not necessary to get those people out of your life completely, but you can try to limit your exposure to them and steer the conversation toward something more positive. If you find yourself feeling inexplicably tired, it’s a good idea to look into why. You can start with a mental health self-assessment at http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.
Drinking water is typically associated with staying physically healthy and fit, but did you know that it affects your ability to think and your mental health? When you do not have enough water in your system, you may feel light-headed and have trouble focusing on simple tasks. This may in turn make you irritable and/or confused.
Dehydration also directly impacts mood. Many people experience anxiety, even panic, along with indicators of dehydration. For those who have depression, not drinking enough water exacerbates the condition by contributing to fatigue, low energy, and headaches.
Getting your 6-8 glasses of water during the dog days of summer can be especially challenging, but that makes it more important. Your body loses water when you sweat under the hot summer sun and even when you breathe out water vapor.
Experiencing some of the above symptoms even with the right amount of water? There may be other factors at play. Beck Psychotherapy encourages you to check in with yourself. Grab a cool glass of water, sit down, and take a brief online mental health screening at http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.
Everyone regularly experiences anxiety, from minor concerns such as getting the grocery shopping done on time to the fear of missing a flight. It is not surprising, then, that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States. However, the commonplace nature of worry in our society can make it difficult to discern everyday concerns from a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
Some indications that you may be experiencing greater than typical levels of worry:
1. You have trouble concentrating on the tasks at hand because you are constantly worrying about what might go wrong, future events and interactions, things on your to-do list, etc.
2. Your worrying is disrupting your sleep. Every night you lay in bed, exhausted, but your mind won’t let you rest.
3. You avoid people and situations that make you nervous. You cancel plans with your friends and rarely go to new places due to fear of negative outcomes.
If any of this sounds like you, or if you have been noticing these characteristics in someone you care about, take the first step to recovery with a free, simple online anxiety screening: http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com. With the right resources, anxiety is a highly treatable condition.
When Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) comes up on the news, it’s usually in the context of veterans. However, there are many types of trauma that a person can experience in a lifetime without ever setting foot on a battlefield. Loss of a loved one, sexual assault, and the loss of a loved one are a few examples of that trauma.
PTSD does not have to develop from a personal experience but can be caused by seeing or hearing a life-threatening event, even if one’s own life is not threatened. For example, it is likely that many people who witnessed the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013—regardless of whether they were near the explosion—developed PTSD as a reaction to the tragic event.
PTSD impacts not only the suffering individuals but those close to them. It can also emerge years after the triggering event. To see if the symptoms that you are experiencing are similar to those of PTSD, make time for a quick check-in at http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.
It’s a known truth that illness can be most effectively treated when it is identified early. If you have an ear infection, start your antibiotics before things get worse. If you discover that you have heart problems, changing your lifestyle could protect you from a future heart attack. Why should mental health be any different?
Hint: it isn’t. Although one in five people have a diagnosable mental health disorder, only 44% of adults and 20% of children receive the treatment that they need. Why? One reason is the stigma surrounding mental health, which prevents people from feeling comfortable seeking help. Another is a general lack of knowledge about mental health resources.
When mental health screenings are regularly accessible to the public, checking on your mental health becomes normalized and less stigmatized. Where mental health screenings are available, there is also access to referral information that helps individuals take the next steps in seeking care. And, once someone has taken a screening, they gain a better idea as to whether they might have symptoms of a mental health disorder.
Mental health screenings are typically available at a primary care physician’s office, but there is no need to wait for your annual appointment to check in with yourself. Beck Psychotherapy has an online mental health screening program available at any hour of the day and from the comfort of your phone or tablet. Mental health screenings are free, anonymous, brief, and will provide you with referral information for resources in your area. Get your “check up from the neck up” here: http://www.BeckPsychotherapy.com.