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Mental Health

Keep Going: Resources you should know about this Suicide Prevention Month

September is suicide prevention month. Each time this year, social media is flooded with stories and resources about mental health, and reminders to reach out for support.  

Almost all of us have been impacted by suicide in some way. Most of us know at least one person struggling with depression, or have even struggled ourselves. The effects of COVID-19 on mental health are widespread, and the effects are sobering. During late June 2020, 40% of adults in the US reported struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse. (CDC) 

While suicide prevention is an incredibly important issue in all facets of life, bringing attention to this issue on college campuses is an incredibly pressing matter. Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses. Today’s college-aged students find themselves in a position that nobody has seen before. 

The following foundations and resources exist with the sole purpose of providing support to individuals who may be struggling.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The AFSP mission statement reads: “AFSP's mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. We fund research to improve interventions, train clinicians in suicide prevention, and advocate for policy that will save lives.” (AFSP)

AFSP’s website holds a variety of information about suicide and its effects, as well as resources for those struggling. 

You can directly support individuals who have been affected by suicide by participating in any of the AFSP’s Out of the Darkness community walks. These walks, even while operating virtually at the moment, provide invaluable support and hope to those who have been directly impacted by suicide. Whether you yourself have struggled or attempted, or someone you know and love has struggled or died by suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a goal to help connect you with people who understand and have been there too. 

Helpline: 800-273-8255, or text TALK to 741741

NAMI

The National Alliance for Mental Illness, is another organization that directly benefits the lives of individuals struggling with depression and suicidality. “NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” (NAMI)

NAMI offers support groups and education initiatives to spread awareness about mental health, and the stigma surrounding mental illness. They have been a huge advocate in political reform surrounding treatment and help for individuals struggling. 

Helpline: 800-950-NAMI

To write love on her arms

TWLOHA began as a small project set out by founder, Jamie Tworkowski, to support a friend struggling with depression and addiction, and to raise money to help cover the financial burden of treatment. Quickly Jamie’s efforts were recognized by people around the world, and countless people began reaching out to Jamie with their own stories and struggles. TWLOHA became a nonprofit, and since 2007 they have been a vital source of hope for people around the world. 

You can find stories of hope on the TWLOHA website, as well as an abundance of resources and information. Since Jamie began selling shirts over 2 decades ago, merchandise from the TWLOHA store has been shipped to 98 different countries across the world. 

NEDA

The National Eating Disorders Association is the largest nonprofit of its kind. “NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.” (NEDA)

NEDA provides information about the many different kinds of eating disorders that exist. NEDA offers resources for treatment and next steps for individuals who may be struggling. By taking a look at their website, readers have the opportunity to learn how to support people in their life who may be struggling with an eating disorder. 

NEDA is known for the annual walks that they hold across the country. At any given NEDA walk you have the chance to listen to incredible speakers and stories of recovery, and to join together with friends and strangers to bring awareness. 

NEDA’s website has a screening survey which can assist individuals in determining whether they could benefit from professional help. 

Helpline: 800-931-2237, or access the website’s support chat

Please let this month be a reminder to you that you matter! There are resources out there, and there really is hope.

Sarah Dwyer

U Mass Amherst '21

Sarah is a psychology and English double major at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is hoping to become an English teacher. Sarah is a writer, a runner, and a registered yoga teacher. On campus Sarah is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, a member of the UMass chapter of CHAARG, writes articles for the UMass chapter of Hercampus, and teaches yoga classes at the campus recreation center. Look out for Sarah’s posts on mental health, fitness, study abroad, and all things wellness.
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