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James Donaldson on Mental Health – Pay Attention to Your Mental Health

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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

 

By Maureen M. Buckley, LMHC

Do you pay attention to your mental health? Wellness is how you think, what you eat and drink, your genetics, your attitude, your lifestyle.

Dr. Sean Bozorgzadeh of our Super Track Clinic spoke to the Point Roberts community about the importance of Vitamin D and how a deficiency can cause all sorts of health problems, including depression.

Depression and anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts. Substance abuse can make it worse.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 45,000 people die by suicide each year. For every completed suicide, 25 people attempt to end their lives.

People describe how they feel when they learn of a completed suicide. “It was a gut punch. I don’t understand why. He had everything to live for.” And loved ones live with this untimely death in a personal hell of grief and devastation. How do you recover from the death of your young daughter or son? Or your mother? Or your grandparent?

As you read this, you may be aware that you have suicidal thoughts. You say to yourself that your loved ones would be better off without you, or that you have become a burden, or that there is no hope. You wonder if you are a bad person because you failed a job or as a parent or your marriage.

The internal emotional state is that you are alone, that you have no reason to go on, that the world would be better off without you. If you add drug abuse and/or alcohol abuse into the mix, you increase the likelihood of having these thoughts and making an impulsive attempt to end your life.

If those words fit you then it is depression that is guiding your thoughts. The thinking patterns of depression become so normal that it is hard to tell that the thoughts are actually toxic. In other words, the sadness or self-destructive thinking is just the way it is and has been for a long time, so it feels normal. But it is not normal. What we now know is that those thoughts can be changed. Depression and anxiety can be treated and things can get better.

What should you do if you feel suicidal or if you know someone who is thinking about ending his or her life?

Counseling helps and the research says that the combination of therapy and medications can be very successful. If you are struggling, please contact your insurance company and ask for local providers that you can see through their system. The phone numbers are on the back of your insurance card. You might need to go to Bellingham or Blaine, especially if you are on Medicare or if your insurance does not have provider coverage in Point Roberts.

A passive approach to your mental health will not give you a positive outcome. Pay attention to what the experts say about what you eat and what you put into your body. Exercise so that you can release endorphins to create a positive feeling in your body. Don’t isolate. Go walk with the Wacky Walkers. Sign up for yoga with Desiree Kleeman at Madrona Yoga. Learn from Ted Talks. Play music that you love. Practice your religious beliefs.

A Safety Plan is critical. This is a collaborative effort to create an immediate support system. It is different from what used to be called a “no suicide contract.” This is created by the suffering person with the help of family, friends, and professionals to have a personalized response plan for the tough days.

Sometimes when you are depressed, it takes too much energy to make a call or to get to an appointment. This is when a loved one or trusted friend can offer to take you, to sit with you in the session or in the lobby, and then take you home.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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