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James Donaldson on Mental Health – Letter: Suicide is Not the Answer


James Donaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of depression and suicidal thoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle


“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm.” I’ve always loved this quote by Norman Vincent Peale. I think it’s been suiting during many trials in my life. Rather than to allow life’s blows to defeat me, I prefer to turn it into something positive in hopes of helping someone else.

I think about some of my life’s worst blows which are losing a job, suffering from physical and/or mental health issues, going through a divorce, or the death of a loved one. I’m sure many of you can say you’ve been through at least one of these, maybe more.

There is never a good time to experience a major loss, but when it happens around the holidays it definitely makes grieving more challenging. On December 10, I lost a very dear and long-time friend to suicide. While some of the signs were there, I never expected him to go through with it particularly since he said he was not contemplating suicide when I directly asked the question. (He, himself, had suffered some major losses along with battling mental illness.)

My advice to those who are grieving a loss is to practice self-care. Not only be kind to yourself but be kind to others. This gives a new appreciation to the saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

If you’re grieving a loss right now, take care of yourself. Take the time to grieve. Learn to say no when you need some space. Do something fun, or just do something simple like take a nap when you’re tired. Don’t make any big decisions. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling; don’t prolong the inevitable. And, while it may seem impossible that things will improve, they will. When you feel overwhelmed, just pause, take a deep breath, and take things one day at a time.

For anyone dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide, help is available. Please don’t think that dying is the answer. It may seem impossible at the time, but please believe me when I say that someone out there does understand and cares about you. Mental illness and suicide are real issues and more people are becoming aware of this. Ask for help!

If you’re contemplating suicide, there are plenty of places to turn:

– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 (confidential and available 24 hours a day).

– Local Suicide Prevention Hotline: 812-422-1100

– Mental Health America of Vanderburgh County: 812-426-2640

– Deaconess Cross Pointe: 812-476-8200

– Southwestern Behavioral Health Services: 812-423-7791

– Visit the emergency room at your local hospital

– Suicide hotline for LGBT youth, run by the Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386. You can text it as well.

– The Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 or you can text 838255.

If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide and need to talk, you can contact HOPE Team Evansville at 812-470-6790 or email them at hopeteamevansville@gmail.com. This is an excellent resource in our area.

Good Health is Mental Health

– Amy Lutzel

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