Suicide prevention and mental health were a huge part of training when I was an RA. We spent a full day talking about it and discussing protocol. Of course, talking is not the same as being face to face with someone, but it gave us a good foundation in case we ever found ourselves in that situation.
One thing that we learn is ACT
Acknowledge: Take it seriously and listen
- Someone who is comtemplating suicide may not always share their thoughts with other people, but if they do that person should already know to not take it lightly. Suicide isn’t something you joke about. Even if they say they were only joking, it’s not something to be dismissed.
Care: Take the initiative and show and/or voice your concern
- Sometimes letting someone know how much you care about them is enough for them. Not always, and everyone is different, but sometimes that’s all they need. I mean, really you should let the people in your life know how much you care about them anyway, but some people may need to hear it more than others
Treatment: Get professional help immediately
- There’s such a terrible stigma around mental health, that many people refuse to seek help because they don’t want anyone to think that they’re “crazy.” This needs to stop. People need to be aware of the resources and options that they have and more importantly they need support. As an RA, I’ve had friends and residents ask me to go with them to the counseling center just to have someone there with them and remind them that it is okay to seek help.
Madison Holleran was a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly. She committed suicide in 2014. If you’re unfamiliar with her story please look it up. It is incredibly heartbreaking but is atill a story that very much needs to be told.
The Madison Holleran Foundation has a general mental health screening that you can take below if you think that you may be suffering from one of the following:
- Alcohol Use
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Eating Disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- If you’re a parent you can answer questions about your child if you’re worried about them
There’s also a link below where there’s a specific test for college students or people who have served in the military.
There’s nothing wrong with struggling with mental health and there’s nothing wrong with seeking help. Struggling is normal because nothing is ever perfect. Depression and anxiety are much more common than many people know. So please, if you need help ask for it.
- Screening for Military and College students
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-8255