Just a few weeks ago, during “Movember,” there was much emphasis and talk about men’s mental health. During May of every year, Mental Health Awareness Month is observed. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
A lot happens during these months to encourage us to take better care of our mental health. Perhaps making two resolutions for 2020 toward better mental health could help all of us year-round. These might just be the two most important resolutions we can make for this new year and they do not require paying for gym fees or hiring a personal trainer.
Wise advice from the social media writing of local mother LeAnne Tressler, whose husband and son both died by suicide, includes “If you are thinking about suicide, call someone … today, right now.” But even if suicidal thoughts are not present and we just need a listening ear or help to feel better, to solve a problem, to pull ourselves out of the darkness — let someone know. There is help 24 hours a day by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Already, thousands of people in Utah County are reaching out for help. Some interesting statistics from Wasatch Mental Health about the Utah County Jail illustrate this. According to Monte Memmott, Wasatch Mental Health Supervising Therapist, during the last week of 2019, social workers visited with male inmates 188 times. These social workers meet with the inmates to provide therapy, teach coping skills and breathing techniques and assess the need for further help. Also during that week, 80 male inmates were seen by a mental health provider to be assessed and possibly prescribed psychotropic medications.
Of course, we don’t have to be at the Utah County Jail to get help. Information about accessing services for mental health can be found at http://Wasatch.org. If you don’t ask for help from a mental health provider, talk to a friend, family member or anyone else who you trust. Resolve to not struggle alone this year.
Someone that you know may be struggling but afraid to reach out. Ask questions. Look for signs. Listen. Spend time. Be a friend.
According to the Utah Department of Health, positive connections to family, peers, community and social institutions can increase the health and well being of children and adults. We need each other and we need to talk. If we notice that someone seems to be unusually sad, withdrawn, stressed or acting differently than usual, we should take the time to ask.
We now know that asking a person directly if he or she is thinking about suicide does not increase the risk of a suicide attempt. In fact, it could save a life or help to change a life.
Watch for those that need a listening ear or guidance to professional assistance. If you feel comfortable, share your own story about improving your mental health. What worked for you might work for others. Resolve to reach out to others this year.