The fall season is upon us. Leaves are changing, the temperature is cooling, and school is starting. Some people love autumn and can’t wait for pumpkin spice-flavored everything and colorful aspen and maple leaves. Other people, however, dread this time of year and find themselves depressed; some may even have suicidal thoughts.
Your Mental Health
There is a term for a health condition involving mood and seasonal change that occurs around the same time every year: seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.). Commonly noted symptoms of S.A.D. include feeling depressed, hopeless, and worthless; reduced energy, concentration, and interest in activities. If this describes you, don’t try to tough it out or pretend this is normal; there are treatment options. Often with depression and other mental health conditions, feelings of hopelessness can lead to suicidal thoughts. You may feel like nothing is ever going to change or get better.
Some of True Care’s staff members deal with depression; a few have struggled for decades. One has suffered depression since she was 13 years old. She says, “As a teen, I found myself so low at times that I considered suicide. There were times I laid in bed all day – just the thought of getting up and taking a shower seemed like a monumental task.”
If you are considering suicide, call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately.
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. Nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide each year, and it is the 10th leading cause of death in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Wyoming ranks third highest for suicide in the United States.
Want to Help a Friend?
Know the warning signs of suicide. These can include:
- Threatening or wanting to hurt or kill him/her self;
- Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means;
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary;
- Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use;
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life;
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time;
- Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out;
- Withdrawal from friends, family and society;
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge;
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking;
- Dramatic mood changes
If you know someone who is struggling with any of the above behaviors or with suicidal thoughts, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Check on them often and encourage them to seek help.
There are many compassionate, helpful resources in the Casper community. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
- Find local support groups at http://www.namiwyoming.org/
- Wyoming Behavioral Institute: 307-237-7444; https://www.wbihelp.com/
- The Healing Place: 307-265-3977 (sliding fee scale)
- Central Wyoming Counseling Center: 307-237-9583; https://www.cwcc.us/
- Dr. Melissa Jenkins: 307-462-4876; https://www.prbhealth.com/melissa-jenkins
- Melanie Connell: 307-797-4827; https://melanieconnell.com/about/
- Talk to someone at the National Hotline (1-800-273-8255) and/or visit the organization’s website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Don’t suffer alone, get the help you need. Start the conversation, start the process. Choose today to go a different direction in life. Our colleague who has dealt with depression since her teenage years made such a choice.
“My life changed dramatically during the last 30 years. Although we all have our ups and downs, the most important encouragement I can give is that it doesn’t have to be this way forever: change is possible, and there is hope for a better future,” she said.
Often when someone is depressed, they don’t take care of themselves. They may put others’ needs above their own. Take time to evaluate your self-care needs like adequate sleep, physical activity, and diet. Build a support team, friends and family members you can trust, people that you can call any time day or night. Choose dependable, compassionate people and be honest with them – don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Change will not happen overnight, but with daily small steps toward your goal, whether that be improving your physical or mental health, improving relationships, or whatever goal you’d like to set for yourself. Remember, change is possible.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.