Worried About a Friend? Here’s How to Support Them

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For most of my life, I’ve wished that I had some sort of a handbook for being a friend. I think I do a pretty decent job (although, I suppose you’d have to check with my friends on that one), but there’s no way to be there for someone perfectly all the time.

I mean, how many times have I told a friend I knew how they felt without really having any idea whatsoever?

How many times have I just jumped to giving advice and solving the problem when all they needed was a sounding board?

How many times did I know someone was struggling, but I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all?

The truth is that there’s no perfect way to be a friend, and that’s especially true when you’re trying to help a friend admit they need help, seek that help, get the help, and manage their recovery. There are way too many variables in play.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little guide for that journey?

That’s why we created the Be A Friend resources.

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Suicide Prevention Month: My Experience at the Emergency Room

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This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here. Please note: This piece talks about a specific experience regarding suicidal thoughts and hospitalizations. Not all experiences will be or are the same.

ER-experience

When someone is actively suicidal, we often tell them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 911, or go to the local Emergency Room. These are all correct responses, but they are also scary, big steps for someone in a mental health crisis to take. I am going to try to demystify what happens at the emergency room when you go there for suicidal thoughts and planning by sharing my own experiences.

After telling the ER staff the reason why I was there, I was evaluated.
Whenever you go into the ER, for whatever reason, you tell the staff why you are there. You can word this however you want: I am feeling suicidal, I have a suicide plan, I’m having suicidal thoughts, I’m feeling really depressed, etc. I went with my parents, so they talked to the staff for me because I was unable to. (If you feel as though you need support, it’s a good idea to go with your parents or guardians or someone you trust.)

In my visits to the ER, they have had a mental health crisis professional come to evaluate me. The evaluation is assessing your suicide risk to determine what level of care you need. This means that you should be extremely honest with the person- they are just trying to get you the help that you need and that fits your situation. I was asked if I have a plan, if I’ve had previous attempts/thoughts/hospitalizations, what medications I am on (if any), any issues going on in my life, and other questions to determine my mental state. Continue Reading

AUCCCD Infographic: A Closer Look at College Counseling Centers

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Each year, the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) releases a report on college counseling center trends. I took some stand-out data from their recently released 2014 survey and put together this new infographic. Want to share the infographic on social media? Read the full post to get social media-sized images.

Thanks to AUCCCD for putting together this very important survey! Read the full report here.
Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors 2015 Active Minds Infographic College Mental Health Services

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Mental Health News Round-up: July 17

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Inside The Mental Health Stigma In The Latino Community

Activist Dior Vargas discusses the stigma within the Latino community and encourages each person to become their own advocate when in comes to getting the best treatment possible.

This Is What It’s Like To Recover From An Eating Disorder During Ramadan

As Ramadan ends, Buzzfeed highlights the experiences of people in recovery from eating disorders during this month when the relationship with food, family, and Allah all intersect. Continue Reading

Mental Health News Round Up: July 3

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imagesWhy Gay Marriage is Good for a Person’s Mental Health

A study from 2010 showed that people who identified as gay residing in states where same-sex marriage was banned experienced higher rates of mental health disorders. Since gay marriage is now legal in all states thanks to the Supreme Court, this reporter hopes that mental health outcomes for LGBT people will improve.

UC Davis Psychiatrist Discusses Mental Health Stigma among Immigrant

Cultural stigma in immigrant communities prevent many from getting treatment. Dr. Russell Lim, a leading psychiatrist who focuses on the stigma in refugee populations, discusses how language determines how one describe mental health disorders, the importance of linkages to the communities, and the benefits of seeking treatment. This is an especially important read during Minority Mental Health Month (#MMHM).

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Mental Health News Round Up: June 12

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Black Girls Smile Creator Fighting to Dispel the Misconceptions of Mental Health In the Community

Stigma in the black community makes it difficult for those struggling to seek the help they need.  A new organization works to help black girls with mental health disorders by talking and educating people about mental health.

We Need More Mental Illness Literacy

Early intervention, especially in the treatment of schizophrenia is crucial. To increase the number of help seeking behaviors that people utilize, the National Institute of Mental Health is seeking to dispel the misconceptions and educate treatment providers about severe mental illness.

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Drum Roll Please…

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9186213I don’t know if you’ve all noticed, but it seems like the transgender community has been gaining more and more visibility in the last few months…

It’s been amazing to see, and I feel honored to be doing this research at a time when society seems to be becoming more open to the experiences and needs of transgender and non-binary individuals.

On that note, I think it’s time to share some of the findings that have come from my time as an Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellow.

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Chapter of the Month: Occidental College

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1425555_253282681496020_167931192_nOccidental College has been named Chapter of the Month for May! Their stigma-fighting techniques have caught our eye and we want every chapter to know about them, too.

Active Minds at Occidental College did not rest for a minute this spring semester, working continuously to break the barriers to mental health services on campus.

In addition to leading a diverse panel of 10 students who spoke openly about their mental health issues to a large classroom of peers, the chapter was also recently recognized for their on-campus advocacy for the addition of a peer mentoring program in the counseling center.

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