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If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Week in October, let’s take a look at some ways in which we can be more supportive of each other when it comes to our mental and emotional health. With mental health issues being quite common, and with hundreds of millions of people around the world affected by them, we can try to take it upon ourselves to look out for each other more.

When we’re in community with other people – at work, in school, in our neighborhoods, in our families – we often have an individualistic approach to life. We go about our daily routines mostly focused on ourselves, our goals, worries and concerns, everything we have to get done. We often don’t think to check on other people and see how they’re doing. A simple call, email, text or visit can make all the difference to someone who is struggling. Very often people dealing with mental health issues isolate themselves and don’t reach out for help. They are often in so much emotional pain that that they suffer in silence. They often don’t want to burden other people. Check on the people you care about, especially if they’ve given you cause for concern. Let them know you’re there for them, that they can reach out to you whenever they need to. This simple act can help someone who is suffering feel less alone and more connected to other people. It might even help them to feel more empowered to seek help.

Let’s remove the stigma around getting professional help for our mental health issues. There is no shame in seeking or receiving help for such difficult, painful challenges. We fear judgment, ridicule and rejection. When we start to talk about mental health openly and honestly, we see that even more of us are struggling than we might have realized. Mental health issues are truly a universal thing with so many of us finding ourselves overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, depressed and even suicidal on a regular basis.

If someone comes to you about the issues they’re dealing with, please don’t shame them or make them feel bad about themselves. We are human. There is nothing wrong with feeling pain. Our instincts are often to want to cheer people up, but try not to minimize or belittle their pain by telling them that they’ll “get over it,” or that “it’s not so bad.” To the person suffering, the battle they’re fighting in their minds is often one of the toughest challenges in their lives. Try to have compassion, understanding and empathy for their struggle.

Let’s all try to be there for each other a little more.

With Riverside’s various treatment programs and dedicated staff, you can find the support you need. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.