Healthy Habits – Talk it out

September is recognized as National Suicide Awareness Month. According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, individuals feel less depressed, less suicidal, and less overwhelmed when they can speak to someone who listens without judgement. Let this month be a reminder to talk with loved ones and offer a listening ear or word of encouragement.

Fun Fact

September is the seventh month of the original Roman calendar and was named accordingly. The word September comes from the Latin root septem, which means seventh.

September 9th

R U OK Day This recognition day is dedicated to encouraging and empowering people to meaningfully connect with those around them by asking the simple question, Are you OK? Starting this conversation could change someone’s life. Be prepared to listen and support loved ones through the conversation.

September 22nd

Fall Equinox Today is the Fall Equinox or the first day of fall. In many locations, day and night will be almost equal in length (12 hours each). It’s officially time to start planning all the fun fall activities!

Did You Know?

Emotional health is a component of mental health. It refers to one’s ability to cope with positive and negative emotions and the normal stresses of life. Improve emotional well-being by scheduling time for reflection, meditation, and relaxation.

This month, make it a priority to raise awareness and get involved with suicide prevention. Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks about them in a caring way. It’s not always easy to start a conversation or keep it going when an individual responds by saying they are not doing well. Continue reading for tips on how to respond, how to create a safe and comfortable environment and how to build confidence to navigate these situations.

The R U OK? Campaign aims to ‘inspire and empower people to meaningfully connect with those in their social circles and lend support when they are struggling with life’. They outline three steps to prepare individuals for difficult conversations with their loved ones. These steps include ‘Am I Ready?’ , ‘Am I Prepared?’ , ‘Have I Picked my Moment?’. 

Am I Ready? It’s important to be mentally prepared for a conversation that could involve negative thoughts or serious problems. Consider evaluating personal mental health and moving forward with a difficult conversation only after establishing a positive headspace. Incorporate personal metal health check-ins to assess for burnout, depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles. Always be willing to genuinely listen and offer support.

Am I Ready? It’s important to be mentally prepared for a conversation that could involve negative thoughts or serious problems. Consider evaluating personal mental health and moving forward with a difficult conversation only after establishing a positive headspace. Incorporate personal metal health check-ins to assess for burnout, depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles. Always be willing to genuinely listen and offer support.

Am I Prepared? Understand that not everyone will be ready to talk and that they may not be looking for someone to ‘fix’ their problems. Be prepared to have a conversation with someone when they express feelings of despair or depression. Offer support by taking them seriously and not rushing the conversation. Try not to judge but rather acknowledge and recognize the things they are struggling with.

Have I Picked My Moment? Choose the right moment to encourage the conversation by being mindful of an appropriate location that offers privacy. Be sure to leave enough time to allow the person to feel heard. If possible, try to choose a moment where that individual won’t be busy or distracted.

Pro Tip

Instead of asking someone, “How are you doing?” try to utilize statements like “You seem off today” or “Something’s different” or “I’m worried about you”. This can be helpful in guiding the conversation and makes it difficult for individuals to divert the question with a short, and typical response of “I’m fine”. Do this with empathy and kindness to show the individual genuine concern.

Encourage Action If appropriate, find actions that the individual can do to work through their struggles. Ask how they would best feel supported or what they have done to navigate similar situations. Some conversations are too big for friends and family to handle alone. Connect them with professional help if this is the case. Help the individual feel supported and cared for by checking in regularly over time. Foster a genuine friendship and spend time doing fun things. Staying in touch can make a big difference. Click to learn more about the R U OK? Campaign >

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