An important piece to any treatment approach is knowing what your resources are. Whether it’s hotlines, warmlines, crisis teams, local authorities, your personal treatment team such as a therapist and psychiatrist, community resources and state specific alternatives. It’s important to keep with you a list of phone numbers of who to contact, when to contact (preferably before the crisis arrives as a self-care measure and also important to use if already in a crisis) and why to contact. While the majority of these resources are professionals, it’s also important to include external supports like friends and family as a go-to and I’ll explain more of that in the second installment of this article.
The hard truth is that we cannot handle our struggles alone, and most importantly, we do not *have* to.
It’s hard to ask for help. It’s difficult to realize that we may not be equipped to handle our thoughts, emotions and behaviors completely on our own.
I like to think of the process as climbing a mountain. Yes, I could take the complicated path of the trail that goes through all the rocks, trees and throes of the wilderness and yes, I’d be able to say I did it all on my own, but at what cost?
I would have wasted my time and energy when I could have chosen the path already smoothed out and laid before me. If I had asked for help from the nearby couple walking their dog or reviewed the map in my back pocket, I could have gotten to my destination faster and still been proud of my work.
There can be internalized shame when it comes to asking for help, that I cannot deny. But I still believe that getting help when a person is struggling is an immense strength.
You don’t get brownie points for masking your pain and suffering in silence. You get more pain, less energy and a lonely helplessness that can very well end your existence before life had the chance to get better.
So, without further ado, I’d like to explore some of the options available to us in relevant resources.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) is a common resource given out on articles, news mediums, and Twitter handles as a place to turn to if you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or suicidal ideation. The lifeline can be reached through phone, popularized a year ago in rapper’s Logic hit song: 1800 273 8255. They can also be reached over chat on their website: suicidepreventionlifeline.org. They are a 24/7 hotline that will route your call to the nearest crisis center near you and I will detail in the future what it’s been like for me to call them over the years and what benefits I’ve received.
A texting crisis service that you can send a variety of codes to including: HOME, HELLO, or START is 741-741. They are also available 24/7. I suggest sending out a text when you’re doing well to see if your phone service works with their program as I’ve struggled in the past with my fossilized phone during a crisis only to find out that my phone doesn’t support those services.
Another call service, that I have yet to try out, is a warmline sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). A warmline, as defined by NAMI, is a peer run phone line meaning that the person on the other line has lived experience with mental health conditions and has been trained to handle calls from the public. One warmline, Metro Boston Recovery Learning Community (MBRLC), can be reached at 877 733 7563 from Monday to Sunday 4p – 8p. A South Shore crisis line operating 24/7 can be reached at either 800-528-4890 or 617-774-6036.
It’s also important to note that the Counseling Center on campus, located at Quinn 2nd floor past medical, can be a helpful resource if you or someone you know is in a crisis. They can provide emergency appointments and offer another 24/7 call center at: X.
A list of local crisis centers and their accompanying phone lines can also be provided by your therapist or day program (often asking is the key!) as well as Googling some additional phone numbers nearby or picking up a list of local emergency services and hospitals from the Counseling Center.
Additionally, if the crisis concerns an individual in imminent danger, call 911 or the Public Safety department Y on campus.
A topic that I did not get to discuss in this article is how to approach gaining external supports besides certified counselors or volunteers on a phone line. Also, I plan to write articles about my experiences calling hotlines and how to respond if someone you meet is in a crisis.
Let’s pretend I didn’t totally write an article like this before last year in the spring. Lmao, I certainly forgot I had, at least!! XD
I think it’s good to update things though and so this list is more relevant nowadays than that one from a year and a half ago is.
I’m utterly exhausted right now but I got some homework done today and will be going to bed shortly… Might even just upload this now versus waiting for tomorrow.
Any who, stay safe!
Written 9.10; 9.13.2018