I received some bad news yesterday about a friend who lost his battle with depression. Whenever this happens, and it has happened too frequently in my lifetime, I wonder if there was something I could have done differently. In most case I know though, that people tend to hide their demons behind a happy face. They don’t want to burden their friends and family with their struggles.
That got me wondering: Are there apps or other online resources that a person could go to anonymously for support and guidance?
I did a little bit of research, and the answer is Yes, and No. Sure there are apps, but research is finding that those apps aren’t as helpful as actually talking to a trained counselor.
One app that is sponsored by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is MY3. MY3 lets you name three people you can contact in a crisis. You set this up ahead of time, and contact them when needed. These three people could be your therapist, your religious leader, a family member, a close friend, or even a neighbor.
If you know you have suicidal tendencies, by all means, get into counseling now. Many times the cost will be free, or on a sliding scale, so don’t let finances be a factor to not seeking help. You can find a competent therapist by contacting your County or State Department of Human Services or by calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-8255.
If you are wondering what some of the warning signs are so that you might be able to help a friend or family member, check out the list here. Some of the warning signs include:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
Our society has two demographics that are particularly susceptible to depression and suicide: Teens/Young Adults and Veterans.
Teens, especially, have many resources. One message board that I found allows teens to “chat” with other teens about a variety of subjects from Gender Issues to Child Abuse to Eating Disorders, Suicide, and other topics. Remember that if you do join a Message Board to head over to gmail first and create a new anonymous email address.
Many of the websites I looked at this morning cite suicide as one of the leading causes of death in the US. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you see a friend showing any of the above signs, gently talk to them, and provide them with some of these resources.
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