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Talk about it.

These are some questions I should ask myself as a clinician to help me talk about suicide.

These are some questions I should ask myself as a clinician to help me talk about suicide.

Mental health plays a massive part in both my personal and professional life. I’ve written a lot here about my mother’s struggle with borderline personality disorder, depression, and her eventual suicide.  I’ve done my best to share my own issues with anxiety, loss, and trauma. As a social worker, I am neck-deep in depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, and a variety of other emotional and behavioral issues. My work in mental health has taught me how profoundly alone people feel in their struggles. By providing psycho-education for my clients, I have the chance to normalize their experiences with pain, hopeless and isolation. I work with them so they can feel empowered to take charge of their well-being. We also try to come up with ways for them to share what they’ve learned with others. So often, the act of giving back serves as a powerful factor in a person’s coping and healing.

This Wednesday, I have a chance to do some giving back of my own. My friend, Brandi, is organizing a social media campaign to connect all of us out there who have been impacted by depression . The hope is to alleviate the taboo and stigma around mental illness. Brandi’s campaign, #DayOfLight, will take place this Wednesday, February 5th. I will support Brandi by sharing my professional knowledge on how individuals can seek mental health treatment, advocate for themselves, and participate in peer support. I’m so excited to be a part of this campaign because I’m tired of us treating our mental health and emotional struggles like inconveniences that should be kept secret. I don’t want to perpetuate cycles of shame and self-hate. So I’m going to be a part of the conversation.

If you want to learn more about the #DayOfLight, go here.

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  1. Nicole
    February 3, 2014 at 22:05

    Mental illness is something that I feel has a huge “no talk” rule surrounding it. I am an intensely private person but I do know the struggle that you are talking about. The students that I service already do not like being singled out and I try to help them focus on something positive about themselves and this can be difficult.
    I sometimes feel it trigger my own issues and I need to reflect on how I deal with them. There is definitely a stigma with speaking about mental illness. I was raised by a mother that was mentally ill. I cannot diagnose I can simply describe the symptoms. Per my parents words, “therapists are for the Jews” so me even suggesting getting help fell on deaf ears. Watching someone suffer is a painful thing to watch and be a part of, especially when help is available.

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