Author: MarciaEpstein

About MarciaEpstein

Specialist in Crisis Intervention, Trauma Recovery, Suicide Prevention, and Suicide Bereavement Support

Peacefully Coexisting with COVID-19: Part 2 & Part 3

I wrote these primarily for people in my groups, which are not currently meeting in person. All of those people have access to technology and internet at home. I realize not everyone does.

Peacefully Coexisting with COVID-19, Part 2
#PhysicalDistanceSocializing

In this time of global coronavirus pandemic, we still NEED Social Interaction, with physical distance between beings.

Two of the Safe-From-Sharing-Germs ways are:
1) Outside, with at least 6 feet between beings, and still covering sneezes and coughs
2) Videocalls while doing things that we might otherwise do together: cooking & eating a meal, sitting around a firepit, listening to music, watching something on a home screen, dancing, creating art,…

For those who are not yet users of free videocalling services, three that really are easy to use (because if I can, anyone can) are:
1) For those with Google accounts, GoogleHangouts
2) Skype https://www.skype.com/en/
3) Zoom https://zoom.us/

A friend shared this very helpful and short Zoom tutorial:
How to Use Zoom – Free Video Conferencing & Virtual Meetings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMUxzrgZvZQ

Happy socializing!

Peacefully Coexisting with COVID-19, Part 3:
#EmotionalSupport in the time of #Polarization #COVID19 #PhysicalDistanceSocializing #FinancialConcerns & more:

💖 Doing the Good-For-You-Things

🧡 Communicating with your Friends-Family through messaging, videocall, email, phone, letters & cards, at a distance of six or more feet & still covering sneezes & coughs

💛 Using some of those free, 24/7 supports for the USA, like:

~ Crisis Text Line: Text “Start” to 741-741 As the name implies, this is text not voice. http://www.crisistextline.org/get-help-now/

~ NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Helpline: only M-F 9am-5pm CDT at 800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org www.nami.org/find-support/nami-helpline

~ National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233, https://www.thehotline.org/

~ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255),  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

~ RAINN, Rape Incest National Network: 800-656-HOPE (4673), https://www.rainn.org/

~ The Trevor Project: for LGBTQ+ teen and young adults http://www.TheTrevorProject.org 866-488-7386; plus chat and text options included on the website

~ Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860, staffed by trans & nonbinary people, for trans & nonbinary people www.TransLifeline.org

~ Veterans Crisis Line: http://www.VeteransCrisisLine.net 800-273-8255 Option 1; plus chat and text options included on the website

~ Plus peer-to-peer support: 7 Cups of Tea, www.7cups.com

💚 Meeting with a mental health therapist or coach: Depending on public health recommendations of the time, that might be in person, by videocall, by phone or text.

💙💜🖤💖 I’m one of those mental health helpers. I meet with people ~ by phone, by videocall, and in person ~ at a variety of times of the day & week, with the person deciding how much they are able to pay, including no pay when needed. More info on this website 🙂

You deserve support!

Take good care … really good care!
Marcia
Lawrence, Kansas, USA

 

 

Peacefully Coexisting With COVID-19

The whole world and all of her beings are impacted by the existence of the Coronavirus / COVID-19.  Including you and all the people you care about, as well as those you don’t yet know.

In my area, testing for Coronavirus / COVID-19 is rationed by the Kansas Department of Health and EnvironmentTreatment specific to this virus does not yet exist.  However, opinions, recommendations,  and some facts are broadcast 24/7 in real life, on social media, online, TV, radio, in our dreams, ….

Through March 2020 and potentially longer, many public and private businesses are temporarily closing; events, including support gatherings, are being cancelled.  People whose income is from small local businesses are losing income.  Schools of all levels are closed for varying durations.  So families with adults who work while children are in school may or may not have safe options to keep working.  When colleges and universities close their campuses, even when they will continue educational programs online, residential students may have no resources for housing, food, or transportation to another “home.”

This is freaking stressful!  Expect to be impacted.  Beings are supposed to care about each other and themselves.  (And yes, that includes those of us who are designated helpers.  We helpers take responsibility for our own care, so we can help others!)

I’ve been around crisis work long enough to remember when HIV / AIDS was a new public health concern with no treatment.  And in those days, the basic recommendations were: keep your stress low and live like you, and everyone you are in contact with, are HIV+.  And that is what I advocate for current times and Coronavirus / COVID-19.

So what are you supposed to do? 
1) Periodically slow down and take a few deep breaths.  Acknowledge your emotions, where you feel them in your body, and your thoughts.  However, remind yourself that your thoughts are not necessarily true.  And be aware that rumination is not helpful, so try to “change the channel” in your brain.
2) Try to get sufficient sleep.
3) Eat healthy, nutritious foods.
4) Drink plenty of water.  (The water in alcoholic beverages does not count.  Just sayin’.)
5) Exercise in the ways that are realistic for your body.
6) Communicate with people you trust to really listen to you.  Your pets count as people!
7) Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.  When they’re clean, you get to touch your face!  Then wash your hands again.
8) Purchasing hand sanitizer is no longer an option, thanks to those who bought up mass quantities.  You may still be able to get the basic DIY supplies, though: alcohol (not the kind you drink!)  and glycerine or aloe gel.  Follow the directions on The Mighty for making hand sanitizer.
9) Clean the surfaces in your living and work environment.  If you use bleach or alcohol, CDC guidelines : Click that link for “how to.”
10) As much as possible, avoid exchanging germs with other people!  Those cleaning suggestions above are important.  And wait there’s more!  The USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers prevention tips  Use them!  And expect the tips to be updated as more information becomes known.

Do YOUR things that help YOU cope with hard stuff in life
You need to limit your exposure to “news” as well as how much time you spend thinking about this virus!  And you are more likely to succeed when you substitute a different activity.  As mentioned above: do YOUR level of exercise, and communicate with YOUR people.  Do the things that are helpful to you, that you will really do.  In case you need some prompts to come up with your list, here are some, in no special order:
1) Journaling can be a good way to dump stuff out of your brain, or a good way to remind yourself of some goodness that you experience each day.
2) Arts, crafts, coloring, cooking, ….  Focus on, and enjoy, creating things, whether or not you will share them with others
3) Distract yourself in other healthy ways that fully occupy your brain so that it has no room for a while to focus on worries about the virus.
4) Indulge your senses:
~ soaps, candles, incense, oils with scents that you really enjoy,
~ look for the beauty outside of your front door or even in your home,
~ eat or drink something that tastes really good,
listen to music, stories, poetry, books
~ soothing touch might include wearing really comfortable clothing, a soft blanket on a cold day, petting a beloved dog, cat, ferret, or other fur baby
5) Do the things that anthropologist Angeles Arrien found to be healing activities across cultures: sing, dance, share your story, and spend some time in silence.

And most important, BE KIND!  To yourself and others!

Some sources of Coronavirus / COVID-19 information
1) World Health Organization
2) USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3) The governmental health departments local to you

Take good care… really!
Marcia

PS  I served from October 1979 – November 2013 as the Director of Headquarters, Inc., aka Headquarters Counseling Center, the free, 24/7 counseling center in Lawrence, Kansas.  In 2001, Chad Sublet and I started the first Disaster Mental Health Team for Emergency Management of any county in Kansas.  Chad and I each completed several courses from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, as well as Disaster Mental Health training by American Red Cross.  My experience and expertise in the area of crisis support and management continues to grow.

#LoveWinsSocialWork

Those who know me know that I do not shy away from that L word. My email signature begins with, “Love really IS the answer.” My posts on Facebook include #LoveWins and
💖🧡💛💚💙💜

Love is part of my work as well. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck explains that True listening, total concentration on the other, is always a manifestation of love.”

A question in my inbox reminded me yet again, that I cannot describe my work with people in just a few sentences. My work is based in love, respect, listening, hope, and “doing what works.”

Who am I as a helper?  I frequently have the opportunity to introduce myself to someone who has been told by a trusted someone (or a search engine) that they should talk with me. My business card above is a start. My commitment to learning and improving must also be spoken about. And that fortune which has lived in my wallet since a November 2013 dinner with dear friend and colleague Bill Geis, Ph.D. is another important statement about me.

And what do I do when people contact me for help? People contact me through a variety of technologies. As my voicemail states, I reply as quickly as is realistic. I do not want to be the reason for a delay in a person finding the help they need, whether or not that help will include me. I encourage the person to let me know some specifics about their need, and I either offer to talk soon, or provide suggestions for other help.

To people in the Lawrence, Kansas, USA area: If you or someone you care about is looking for a compassionate and skilled companion in some personal work, please consider contacting me. The best start is by email to M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com

Much more info is on this site https://MarciaEpstein.biz

#BeauLove

This post is for all the pet-loving people, especially those with elder dogs. This note is because our pets are members of our families. This note is because we love the pets of our friends-families, even the pets we only know through social media. This note is because there may be some bits of information that help someone else care for their pet.

This note is because… LOVE.

In 2008, after our younger son had moved to Washington to study at The Evergreen State College, Kyle and I agreed to adopt a dog. Looking at Petfinder.com, I was drawn to a sweet-looking brown and white dog. I read about Springers, and learned about the English Springer Rescue of America (ESRA). I completed the adoption application. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving 2008, Kyle and I went to the home of the ESRA representative. Mark Samuel introduced us to Beau, who had been found injured and would have been euthanized if not taken in, and cared for, by ESRA. Sporting several scars, but otherwise a healthy two or three year old, Beau joined our family. And in our opinion, Beau is one of the best dogs ever.

Beau is that sweet dog who little kids can pet and lay on. That dog who has so many friends from being part of my social work and being Kyle’s companion on walks and runs. And Beau is now also that elder dog living with health challenges.

Early this year, I asked Facebook friends to share tips for caring for elder dogs. The responses were very caring and helped guide us. And this autumn, some additional guidance came unexpectedly. In September, Beau had a serious leg injury, and Michelle Hall, the new veterinarian available at our vet’s clinic not only helped us heal Beau’s leg, but also suggested a new medication to improve his mobility. In October, at our annual retreat at The Light Center for people with suicide grief, I met an out-of-state veterinarian who was receiving training in veterinary chiropractic medicine from an area veterinarian. It only took a little internet searching for me to find that expert, and for him to become part of Beau’s care.

And the rest of this note has the specifics of what we have tried for our beloved Beau, for those who are seeking some guidance for their own beloved pets.

Much love,
Because love really IS the answer.
💖🧡💛💚💙💜
Marcia
M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com

 

Elder Dog Care

 

Beau’s abilities at this point:
~
Loving his people
~ Walking slowly, and only short walks
~ Trouble getting up after a nap & getting started walking
~ Cannot walk up or down stairs
~ Lack of awareness of peeing and pooping
~ Little to no appetite, and no consistency in what he will eat
~ Sleeps lots
Veterinary care:
Our long-time primary vet is Dr. Bill Bayouth at Animal Hospital of Lawrence (Kansas). Also at AHL, Dr. Michelle Hall treated Beau for a leg wound and got Beau started on Adequan injections for hip/ mobility issues.
http://www.ahlawrence.com/
March 2019, we had Beau examined at K-State Veterinary Health Center’s Pet Health Center in Manhattan, Kansas  https://www.vet.k-state.edu/vhc/services/phc/
November 26, 2019, we began a series of treatments at Wellsville (Kansas) Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Drew Spisak who teaches & provides veterinary chiropractic, cold laser, & acupuncture.
http://www.wellsvillevetclinic.com/

Mobility tools we continue to use:
~
raised food and water bowls
~ rubber grips on his nails, which we keep trimmed

For sleeping overnight:
~
A memory foam orthopedic dog bed with removable cover; in our kitchen, as he is no longer able to go up and down stairs to our bedroom

Because of his incontinence, we use:
~
disposable pads for him to lay on
~ male dog diapers/ wraps for pee

We are giving Beau, twice daily:
~
750mg of GABA amino acid (Info about GABA is included at the end of this note.)
~ a pre- & pro-biotic mix capsule
~ a joint supplement chewable tablet

In October 2019, he started Adequan injections:
twice weekly for four weeks, and now every two weeks. This has improved his walking somewhat.  However, we may discontinue due to finding non-medication treatment that works even better.On November 26, 2019, he started receiving care from Dr. Drew Spisak: veterinary chiropractic and cold laser treatment, supplemented by some acupuncture. These treatments were administered twice weekly for a few weeks, then lweekly until realistic benefits have been achieved. We also stopped giving Beau the NSAID Carprofen (Rimadyl is one version), which might be contributing to diminished appetite and other health issues. His walking has improved very much, his movement overall has improved, and his appetite may be returning.
Nutrition:
~
He has little interest in eating, and this year has gone from 60 lb to 45 lb.
~ He stopped eating the boiled chicken and broth that was his standard for a while.
~ On the list of foods he will sometimes eat are mostly just-cooked items: home-cooked hamburger, home-cooked cornbread, fried eggs, pieces of ham, chicken nuggets from fast food restaurants, vanilla ice cream, or any animal protein we are eating as part of our meal.
~ Our primary vet, Dr. Bill Bayouth, prefers older dogs being on a prescription kidney diet dog food, however Beau would not eat the Hill’s version and will no longer eat the Purina version.
~ For a long time, he has had no consistent interest in dog food, with the rare exception of eating some Purina puppy food when we are visiting our son’s family, which includes a puppy.  We continue to offer different high quality kibbles.
~ He will rarely eat any of the wide range of dog treats that we try, other than Smoked Pig Ears from a local meat market.
Anti-inflammatory and pain relief that we have tried:
~
50 mg of the NSAID Carprofen (generic name of Rimadyl) morning and 50 mg evening: Quellin from Bayer
~ 100 mg Gabapentin every 36-48 hours – We quickly discontinued Gabapentin, because it was way too strong for Beau, even at this very small dose for his weight
~ CBD oil purchased from our local natural pet food store – No benefit for Beau from that

With episodes of diarrhea, which were frequent at times in the past, when he was eating more and we had not yet added pre- & pro-biotic to his daily routine:
~
Immodium (generic version) after first incident: one capsule, occasionally a second after 12 hours
Additional mobility tools that we tried, but are no longer helpful:
~
after right rear leg which was diagnosed with ACL tear in March 2019 – compression brace for several weeks
~ underbelly wraparound sling with handles for times when he can’t get up or down hardwood stairs inside our home
~ step stool for getting in and out of car
~ carpeted steps/ ramp for getting onto bed, but he never liked using this
About GABA:
Note: This is not the same as the pain relief medication Gabapentin GABA is non-prescription and is available through natural food/ supplement stores.

From a health coach friend, Christy Kennedy’s, readings:
GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain with a principle role of”reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.” Lower-dose supplements are generally understood and used for mood, anxiety, and sleep problems, but it is used at higher doses and in the form of gabapentin/neurontin (analog [mimic] of GABA) for its anti-inflammatory/inhibitory effects to treat inflammatory pain and seizure disorders. 

This article is about GABA for older dogs; see page 3 of 4
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jvms/67/10/67_10_1063/_pdf/-char/enWhat we saw initially with GABA and Beau was a very quick and very positive reaction. His mobility and gait improved within 5-10 minutes. However that is no longer true.

Thriving While Living With Suicide: Activities in KC-Lawrence-Topeka Area

Red candle: in honor and memory of loved ones who died by suicide
Purple candle: living with suicide grief
Blue candle: living with suicide thoughts, self-harm, attempts
Yellow candle: supporting suicidal loved ones
So many have more than one of those experiences.

v.2019.06.12 at 9:40pm CDT
Especially to: Kansas City-Lawrence-Topeka Area Friends
Re: Reducing suicide risk by helping people thrive
At and since the April 2019 annual conference of the American Association of Suicidology, AAS members and others have had many “loud” conversations about the impact of language, culture, and environment on the high number of suicide attempts and deaths in the USA. We need all of us, representing all the experiences with suicide, at “the table” working together to help more people have more reasons to be glad to keep living, even though life will continue to include challenges.
My experience with suicide is both personal and professional, including 34 years as Director of Headquarters Counseling Center (in Lawrence, KS), and since December 2013, working privately with individuals and families in a very non profit way with high accessibility and low fees. I was told in 2015 that I do not fit in the Douglas County (KS) Suicide Prevention Coalition. I value collaboration, and finding and sharing information. I hope that by sharing information in quarterly or so emails (most recent of which I updated for this sharable note), and by some of you sharing information with me, we work together to provide more help to more people.
Support groups that help reduce suicide risk, based in Lawrence, KS:

NAMI Douglas County, KS hosts support groups each Wednesday from 6:00-7:30pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont. The first Wednesday of the month is a one hour combined group for people living with mental illnesses as well as family-friend support people, plus a 30-minute educational presentation. Other Wednesdays, the two groups meet separately. NAMI Douglas County also provides the 12-session Family-To-Family program each spring. I serve on the Steering Committee and believe wholeheartedly in NAMI locally and in other communities across the country. More info about NAMI Douglas County is at: https://www.facebook.com/NAMI.Dg.Co.KS

In Lawrence, Kansas I host support groups (and special events) for adults with experiences with suicide. These groups welcome people from KC-Lawrence-Topeka area. Each group is focused on one type of experience, although many people have two or three of these types of experiences: suicide grief; one’s own suicide thoughts, self harm, or attempts; and/or supporting a suicidal loved one. For more info please email M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com
Suicide bereavement support groups in other communities:
And wait, there’s more!

1) For those of you who are mental health caregivers, who have experienced the suicide death of a colleague, a client, a friend or family member, the Clinician Survivor Task Force of the American Association of Suicidology is a resource for information and support http://cliniciansurvivor.org/

2) For those who are interested in some mental health resources by and for black youth and adults, I would send some information that I gathered for a family in NYC whose teen is suicidal.

3) For those who are interested in mental health resources for people with TBI and suicidal thoughts, I would send some information that I have gathered for an area family.

And these upcoming special events!

Douglas County (KS) Behavioral Health Prevention Summit
Thursday, June 25, 2019 at DoubleTree by Hilton, Lawrence, KS
Info, including how to register: http://www.dccca.org/2019-douglas-county-behavioral-health-prevention-summit/

2019 Regional Missouri Suicide Prevention Conferences:
Finding Help and Hope in the Intersections of Despair

July 23 in Kansas City, MO; July 24 in Columbia, MO; July 25 in Cape Girardeau, MO
http://www.cvent.com/events/2019-regional-suicide-prevention-conferences/event-summary-9d86cbdef93e48deac2b04b8ad730c6e.aspx

Building Partnerships to Address Suicide among Adolescents and Young Adults in Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
Thursday, August 8, 2019 in Kansas City, MO
http://event.capconcorp.com/wp/address-suicide/

USA’s National Suicide Prevention Week
Sunday, September 8 – Saturday, September 14, 2019.

World Suicide Prevention Day is always on September 10.

SASS-MoKan 16th Annual Remembrance Walk
Sunday, September 8, 2019, starting at 9:00am. at Loose Park, 5200 Wornall Rd., KC, MO. For people bereaved by suicide. $25 charge includes registration and shirt. More info from Bonnie at bonswade@gmail.com or http://www.sass-mokan.com/Sass-walk/

Words Save Lives 2019.09.10
Tuesday, September 10, 2019, our annualWorld Suicide Prevention Day event: performance night, to build connection and a sense of being valued for everyone at the mic and in the room. Lawrence, KS venue and more info to come from M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com and at https://www.facebook.com/events/399224907600627/

A Night To Remember
Friday, September 13, 2019 at Gage Park Amphitheater, Topeka, KS, “to celebrate our loved ones” who died by suicide. Contact Alicia Newberry at Alicia.Newberry@se2.com

7th Annual Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition 5K Walk/Run
Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Crestview Shelter, Topeka, KS. For more info scspcoalition@gmail.com Registration athttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/7th-annual-5k-runwalk-tickets-59713659162

13th annual Freedom of Expression retreat
October 12-13, 2019 at The Light Center in southern Douglas County, KS, our 13th annual retreat for people with loved ones who have died by suicide. More info to come from M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com

SASS-MoKan Healing and Hope for the Holidays
Saturday, November 16, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 pm at Shawnee Mission Hospital, Rogers Conference Center, Shawnee Mission, KS More info from Bonnie at bonswade@gmail.com or http://www.sass-mokan.com/remembranceservices/

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day community workshop
Saturday, November 23, 2019. Lawrence, KS venue and more info to come from M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com

53rd Annual Conference of the American Association of Suicidology
April 22-25, 2020 at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, OR
Info will be available at https://www.suicidology.org/

During 2019,  (TLC) in southern Douglas County, KS will host a variety of healing workshops for grief, including grief after death by suicide. Our “Thriving While Living With Suicide” Team in 2019 is M.E.; Robin Goff, BSN, RN, MAV, TLC founder and leader, energy healer, bereavement specialist; healer and bereavement specialist, Donna Hanschu; and Shannon Musgrave, Intuitive Medium. Donna and Shannon will be offering a workshop on “Signs & Symbols of Our Loved Ones” with date and location to be announced. Learn about TLC events on Facebook, through their e-newsletter, and at https://lightcenter.info

Very best wishes,
Marcia

PS Love really IS the answer. Yet to those of us who have lost loved ones to suicide, I say: If love could have saved our loved ones, they would have lived forever.

Marcia Epstein, LMSW
Specialist in life changes, reducing suicide risk,

and suicide bereavement support
Steering Committee Member, NAMI Douglas County

Lawrence, Kansas, USA
M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com
https://MarciaEpstein.biz

Some Things I Believe To Be True

Without laughter we explode, and that’s just not pretty.

Grief is about love, and there is no end to either.

Every person deserves joy in their life.

Shame and self-blame prevent healing.

Each person is doing the best they can with the info they have at the time.

Corollary: sometimes one’s best is not good enough.

It’s never too late to learn and change.

Substitute rather than try to avoid.

Plan for what to do WHEN we mess up again, because we will.  We are human.

Awareness + TOOLS = Change

Some of our guiding thoughts about ourselves are LIES.

Worries about the future are actually unhealed experiences from the past.

Sometimes what we have not yet spoken literally leaves us breathless.

Ask if the person has the energy to listen BEFORE venting.

The fee for every venting session is the sharing of at least one “highlight,” one good thing in this day/week/time of life.

Yet…

And also…

Love really IS the answer.

Getting to #LifeWorthLiving

Helping people stick around long enough to learn skills that help them get to #LifeWorthLiving is my passion. Some people call that suicide prevention; and call September, Suicide Prevention Month; the week with September 10, (USA) National Suicide Prevention Week; and September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day.
Year-round, lots of people I know share hotline numbers on their social media. Making sure every person has access to support is a kindness. We also need to share additional kindness, including in the form of additional tools. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in realizing that calling a hotline is not the first thing I want to do when I’m feeling bad. And being human means sometimes feeling bad, so I need tools in addition to hotline numbers.
I know hotlines. I served as a volunteer counselor and then as Director of Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence, Kansas from 1975 through 2013. And after that I helped a bit with Trans Lifeline. Yep, I’m old. I have experience and expertise. I am committed to learning, which to me is part of living. I am no fan of “awareness campaigns.” I am a fan of teaching a mix of tools, so that at least some of them work for anyone who needs them.
One of my favorite tools that comes from suicide prevention (and is intended to be used collaboratively in therapy) is the Suicide Safety Plan, copyright to Barbara Stanley and Gregory K. Brown, with detailed info about how to use it at www.SuicideSafetyPlan.com This is a great model for creating a personal plan for staying safe from any unhealthy behavior. I often explain safety plans as a way to figure out the detours you can take to avoid traveling down a well-worn path that gets where you really do not want to go. And I remind people that you have to work at remembering to use those detours until they feel as natural as that old path. Learning any new thing is bound to feel awkward at first.
So instead of only telling someone about hotlines, how about encouraging them to sit down (ideally with a trusted person), and their writing tools (or apps) of choice? The goal is to create a Safety Plan that the person will really use. That also means having the plan where the person can find it. Creating the plan will take a while, and the plan will be even more helpful after it’s updated now and then.
The Suicide Safety Plan from Stanley & Brown includes:
Step 1: Warning signs (emotions, thoughts, images, mood, situation, behavior, physical sensations) that a crisis may be developing
Step 2: Internal coping strategies – Things I can do to take my mind off my problems without contacting another person (relaxation technique, physical activity, or other)
Step 3: People and social settings that provide distraction (places you can get to, and phone numbers for the people)
Step 4: People whom I can ask for help (with phone numbers for the people)
Step 5: Professionals or agencies I can contact during a crisis (with phone numbers for the people and agencies)
Step 6: Making the environment safe and Reasons for living: The one thing that is most important to me and worth living
Step 5 is the one where all those hotlines and such belong. Step 5. Not Step 1.
Some of my favorite recommendations for free, 24/7 support for a person in the USA are:
~ Crisis Text Line: text “Start” to 741741, www.crisistextline.org
~ National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, main number 800.273.8255 (TALK), TTY 800.799.4889, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
~ Trans Lifeline, 877.565.8860, www.translifeline.org
~ The Trevor Project, 866,488,7386 plus chat and text options, www.thetrevorproject.org ~ Veterans Crisis Line, 800.273.8255, Option 1, plus chat and text options www.veteranscrisisline.net
Plus these peer-to-peer supports:
~ 7 Cups of Tea, www.7cups.com
Thanks to the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) www.suicidology.org, I am part of not only the USA national, but the international, suicide prevention community. I am very proud and honored to be there. To borrow words about world peace from folk artist Brian Andreas of www.StoryPeople.com, we are “a really big, strange family,” where new family members are welcome. As AAS says, “Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business.”
And as Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” And that, my friends, is something we can each do for ourselves and for others to prevent suicide.

 

PS Please share this info, which you will also find in this post on my page for the support group Stayin’ Alivewww.facebook.com/Stayin.Alive.Lawrence.KS