September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and National Suicide Prevention Week is September 6–12, 2020. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions during an infectious disease outbreak, such as coronavirus. Over the last several months, you may have experienced fear and worry, changes in sleeping or eating, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, or increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. In addition, your chronic health problems or mental health conditions may worsen during these stressful times. If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, know that you are not alone. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States, and more than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. There are many resources that can help. Here are just a few from the GPO online bookstore.
The booklet and DVD set kit How To Talk to a Child About a Suicide Attempt in the Family is an easy-to-read publication that can help you talk to children about a suicide attempt in the family. This publication comes with both a booklet and DVD. It outlines how to talk to kids of all ages, including preschoolers, school-aged children, and teenagers. This resource provides examples of what to say, children’s reactions that can be expected and how to handle them, and other ways to support children. This includes giving them activities and outlets to keep busy and active. It also helps to encourage kids to express their emotions. For any family that has experienced a suicide attempt, this is a must-have publication.
Relapse Prevention and Recovery Promotion in Behavioral Health Services is geared toward mental health service providers but is also useful to people who are personally dealing with mental illness or who know a friend or family member struggling with mental health. This publication from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers an overview of techniques, approaches, and best-practice guidance for preventing relapse and promoting recovery from addiction and mental illness. It provides cognitive exercises such as proactive imagination (remembering a scene of a place that feels calm, relaxed, or serene) and thought diffusion (imagining placing distressing thoughts in a balloon, or on a cloud, and watching them float away). It also discusses physical ways of coping. These include deep breathing, walking in nature, practicing gentle movement, muscle relaxation, and even singing. Emotional methods of coping mentioned in the book include writing, making a gratitude list, and listening to or playing music. Finally, SAMHSA cites relational ways of coping. These include connecting with a person, or even a pet. (Did you know petting an animal lowers blood pressure and can alleviate stress?!) According to the book, “Behavioral health services are beginning to emphasize long-term recovery from substance use and mental disorders instead of focusing on multiple episodes of acute care.” Therefore, the publication focuses on promoting ongoing recovery. The book emphasizes that many people still don’t have access to the services they need. SAMHSA suggests tips on creating easy access to care for patients. It also promotes using a strengths-based assessment, rather than focusing on what is “wrong” with a person.
Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools is a resource for high school administrators, students, parents, and individuals with suicide and other life-threatening health issues. The book was funded by SAMHSA to help high schools and their partners prevent suicide and promote behavioral health among their students. The book offers data on youth suicide. One of the helpful facts to know is that suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. The toll among some groups, such as Native Americans, is even higher. Also included are an information sheet on bullying and a checklist of suicide prevention activities. Suggested prevention activities include implementing a written protocol for helping students who may be at risk of suicide as well as training staff on suicide prevention, among many others.
The coronavirus pandemic has been an unprecedented and tough time for our families, our communities, and our country. The CDC offers the below resources. For more information on healthy ways to cope with stress, visit the CDC website.
Get immediate help in a crisis
- Call 911
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746. Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255
Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health
The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications
HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?
Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.
Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.
Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).
Order by Phone or Email: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800. Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov
Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.
Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.
About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.