October 10, 2015 is World Mental Health Day. In the United States, mental health is much more accepted as a part of overall health than it is in many other countries across the world. We are privileged to be able to talk about it in this country, which we hope encourages those who are struggling feel more open to getting help. This allows us to decrease the stigma and is key to suicide prevention efforts like The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a safe place for LGBTQ youth to open up about their identities, and the counseling they receive on the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorText, TrevorChat, or on TrevorSpace.org can be a crucial part of improving their state of mind.
With LGBQ youth being three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers and transgender youth having an even higher risk, suicide prevention and crisis intervention services like ours are key to public health. For youth who face suicidal thoughts, they often feel hopeless and may believe they have no one to turn to for support. However, there are alternatives to sitting in the hopelessness, and at The Trevor Project, our trained counselors are here to help youth ages 13-24 explore alternative ways of thinking.
If you or someone you know notices changes such as those in the list below, it may be time to address feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, or immense hopelessness with a professional, our trained counselors, close friends, or a trusted family member.
1. Sleeping too much or too little
2. Losing appetite or overeating
3. Difficulty concentrating
4. Phasing out
6. Activities that used to give you enjoyment no longer do
When you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to connect with a supportive community around you, like TrevorSpace.org. Reaching out to friends and loving family members can help you feel like you’re not alone and that people care about you. Know also that sometimes, you can’t change the way you feel, but you can work on changing the way you think about things. If you can consider a new perspective, sometimes the way you feel about things will change too. Taking care of yourself, with activities such as the examples below, can help you shift your mindset.
1. Journal out your thoughts
2. Schedule fun events (go to the movies, a park, dance, play sports)
3. Do something creative that fuels your mind
4. Spend time with friends
7. Visit a mental health professional (therapist, school counselor, or psychiatrist)
8. If you are spiritual, connect with a supportive and affirming religious leader or spiritual healer you trust
9. Identify what feels good and bad in your life, then minimize the bad to feel more balanced
Know that help is always available and people do want to support you when you’re experiencing mental health issues, even if you may feel like a burden. Surround yourself with people who care, and you may find your mental health improving.
Chronic Mental Health Issues
Some people do experience chronic mental health issues. In this case, seeking out a mental health professional can be particularly helpful. Be sure to talk to your doctor to figure out what’s best for you.
Staying mentally healthy is like taking care of your physical fitness. You can’t exercise just once and expect to be healthy. It’s important to consistently examine how you’re doing and give yourself check-ups once in a while. The good news is, there is support out there, and you are not alone.
If you or someone you know has been considering suicide or has been feeling down lately, call our Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386 or find a supportive community online at TrevorSpace.org.