October 10, 2019, is World Mental Health Day. This international observance is meant to raise awareness of challenges faced by people around the world and remind us of things we can do to support our own emotional well-being as well as to support others in our lives. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) selected “suicide prevention” as the main theme of World Mental Health Day 2019.
In the United States, a person dies from suicide about every 16 minutes. For many of us, when we’ve felt hopeless or backed into a corner, suicide seemed like a solution. We’ve learned that WRAP can be a roadmap for responding to suicidal thoughts by finding different ways to get through whatever difficult circumstances we may be facing. When you build your WRAP, you’ll have the option to identify supporters you can lean on and action plans you can use when you’re facing a crisis or other challenges, including suicidal thoughts?
If you’re thinking about suicide, we want you to know that many of us have found it helpful to talk to someone about what’s going on. If you need to talk to someone immediately, it may be an option to reach out to a peer supporter, clergy member, mental health counselor, or medical doctor depending on your situation. It’s also possible that there isn’t a safe person you can talk to about how you’re feeling when things are really hard. In that situation, when we’re feeling very alone, many of us have found it helpful to journal, pray, or meditate. One WRAP user shared that journaling when she had suicidal thoughts or felt hopeless helped her take power back in her own mind even though she didn’t have much power in her environment. She journaled and prayed about how her life would be different in the future, as well as what steps she could start taking right away in her thinking to be ready for the next phase of her life. This helped her get through it until a time when she had safe people who she could trust to support her.
A peer supporter, sponsor, friend, family member, spiritual leader, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (a toll-free call to 1-800-273-8255) can all be option, as can journaling and spiritual practices. If you have access to an internet-connected computer at home or in your community, you can also chat online with a trained crisis counselor 24/7/365 at imalive.org.
Things can feel really overwhelming sometimes. WRAP has helped us learn that we don’t have to go through this alone; neither do you. So many of us have experienced “suicide prevention” efforts that focus on keeping us alive—but not on helping us want to live. With WRAP, many of us have been able to discover a new sense of power and purpose in our lives, and to create a life that we love—one where we have choices and options and ways to move forward even in a crisis. If you haven’t developed a crisis plan yet, the WRAP article “Crisis Plan and Working Through Hard Times” helps explain the process and value of having one. To carry your crisis plan on you at all times and make it easy to share with others, check out our Crisis Plan On the Go.
What has helped you experience a sense of purpose and power in your life? What keeps you going even on the hard days? Share with us on our Facebook page!
Kristen King leads digital strategy at Advocates for Human Potential. She’s been using WRAP since 2010 and was certified as a WRAP Co-Facilitator in 2011. She is also a certified life coach. Kristen lives in Colorado, USA.