What I Wish I Had Said about Mental Health and Suicide

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Thirty years ago, the atmosphere surrounding mental health and suicide was very different than it is today, especially in some areas. Even today, where you live could affect the information, help, and reactions you receive. Since that time, I’ve learned a better way to respond when a loved one struggles.

If someone you care about changes in some way, something may be wrong. The difficulties go beyond available support. According to statistics, most people who ultimately end their lives are dealing with a mental illness or behavior disorder — whether they realize it or not — though this is not always true. Excessive stress or a combination of things can be factors that also might lead to thoughts of suicide.

Signs? Sometimes there are none. Sometimes changes in personality are complicated by attempts to self-medicate with substances like alcohol or drugs or excessive behaviors such as spending money wildly or doing something uncharacteristic such as making sudden major decisions about lifestyle or beliefs. These are just a few examples. Sometimes you may have only a vague feeling a problem exists; not everyone displays telltale behavior changes. To complicate matters, not all changes like this are serious, especially in the volatile teen years, though young people and children can become mentally ill. 

If you think there might be a problem or if you feel you need help yourself, here is what I want you to know.

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