This week I wanted to dive deeper into topics on suicide prevention but wanted to get helpful information from a professional to make sure you are receiving quality information.
This is Ashley Nazon, a licensed social worker who is the owner of A Holistic Therapy Group, LLC which provides therapy for individuals, couples, groups, and families!
Her main goal is to help eliminate the stigma of seeking help and going to therapy. She states on her website, “ You do not have to have a mental health issue to seek therapy.”
This is definitely something that needs to be promoted more and going to therapy should be normalized!
If you are interested in getting in touch with Ashley, you will find her contact information at the end of the post!
Before you contact her, hear what she has to say about suicide prevention and how we can create a positive space during this stressful time.
Warning Signs Of Suicide Risk To Look For In Your Loved Ones:
- The person no longer has an interest in the things they use to enjoy
- Vocalizing hopeless statements
- Becoming distant
- Expressing statements about them dying
- Engaging in self-harm activities (over drinking frequently and/or doing drugs)
- Sleeping all the time
Ashley explained that these are just KEY signs to look for, they are not the only warning signs of suicide risk.
What To Do If Someone Is Exhibiting These Signs
Ashley made sure to go into detail about what exactly you should do when someone shows any of the above signs which are described below:
If you see someone exhibiting these signs, you should blatantly ask them are they feeling sad or hopeless?
If the person expresses yes, then the next question to ask is: Have you had thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself?
If they say yes, then ask: Have you considered how you would do it, and if so what would you do?
If they answer that they have a plan, please call your local crisis line.
Most states you can call 211 and get the support you need for someone to go out and check on the person.
You can also call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline which you can reach at 1-800-273-8255 any time of the day.
You cannot force anyone to get help if they do not have a plan for suicide, but you can offer support by listening to them and normalizing their feelings.
Do not tell them they have nothing to be sad about, that will cause them to feel like you are invalidating how they feel.
What Types of Stressors Can Trigger Suicidal Thoughts
Ashley explained that if someone already suffers from anxiety or depression, there may not be any triggers to have suicidal thoughts.
This means that if you or someone you know has a mental health issue, make sure to take the necessary steps to ensure you or your loved one feels mentally stable and supported.
For those who don’t have a mental health issue, some common stressors may be:
- Losing a job
- Losing a close loved one
- Financial stress
- Anything not going right in life
The Effect of The Pandemic
“COVID-19 forced people to cut themselves off from the world to protect themselves physically, but neglect their mental health.” – Ashley Nazon, LCSW
In the previous post from last week, we discussed 6 different ways the coronavirus could affect our mental health and potentially increase suicide rates.
Ashley touched on this and pointed out that it has caused people to feel isolated which should be a concern during a pandemic.
Everyone was used to interacting with others on a daily basis and it was all taken away faster than we could realize how this would affect us.
She states, “COVID-19 forced people to cut themselves off from the world to protect themselves physically, but neglect their mental health. The focus became about not getting sick and not about how people feel about what is going on. Mental health was neglected.”
How To Manage Stress During The Pandemic
Create a new routine!
Doing this would be the best way to reduce your stress.
For example, you probably went to the gym to workout prior to the pandemic.
So instead of going to the gym, start going for walks or do in-home exercises on the days that you used to go to the gym.
If you now work from home due to the pandemic, do not neglect your routine of getting up and getting ready for work.
The key is normalizing your new way of life.
What Can You Do To Address Increased Feelings of Anxiety & Depression From The Pandemic
Ashley stated that heightened anxiety and depression during this pandemic is completely normal.
To help decrease some of these feelings people should try to:
- Engage in physical activities
- Be mindful of the kinds of food they are eating
- Go outside and get some fresh air
- Stay connected with friends and family
- Start a new routine!
She encourages everyone to practice mindfulness. This simply means pay attention to your thoughts and remain conscious of them.
For example, when you have anxious or depressive thoughts, start to scan your body and mind.
“Did anything happen today that hurt me, Am I ok, How is today?, etc.”
All these questions promote us staying in the present.
Worrying so much about the future and even the past can cause anxiety and depression.
Take things one day at a time.
What To Do If You Are Dealing With Depression, Anxiety, or Suicidal Thoughts On Your Own
If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts please reach out to a mental health professional.
There are many platforms you can use to help find a therapist and some therapists offer pro bono and sliding scale fee sessions.
Some platforms are even providing free therapy sessions such as:
Please do not suffer in silence!
Support For Essential Workers
We have all seen how essential workers have been on the frontline since COVID-19 first broke out.
Of course, we always think about how we felt when the pandemic first started which was an increase in anxiety, stress, and fear.
Imagine what essential workers were feeling.
They had no break and had to work through a pandemic which put their health at risk.
The amount of stress this caused many workers is unbelievable, so we wanted to ask Ashley a couple of questions on how essential workers can cope with their stress during this time.
How Can You Manage Your Stress As An Essential Worker
If you are an essential worker, look into if your employer provides employee assistance benefits.
If they do, Ashley highly suggests that you use them!
The employee assistance programs offer free therapy to employees!
Please take your days off and take the time to relax, meditate, do yoga, enjoy some good food, journal, and all the things that bring you peace.
Do what you enjoy when you can and most importantly listen to your body.
If you are fatigued, you need to rest.
What Steps Should Be Taken To Provide More Support For Healthcare Professionals
She states that the first step is for leaders of the healthcare organizations to:
- Provide adequate staffing
- Mandate scheduled break times
- Be supportive of their staff by actively listening to their needs.
Ashley explained how she is currently doing research on how healthcare workers can be supported in their workplaces for stress.
Hopefully what she finds can help change the environment in the healthcare industry to better support their worker’s mental health and well-being.
If you are interested in getting in contact with Ashley, here is her website and contact information:
I hope you found this article helpful and learned a few things about suicide prevention and mental health!
Special thanks to Ashley Nazon for taking time to share valuable information on this topic, if you are interested in learning more about her click here!
Make sure to leave a comment about your thoughts on this subject and share this on your socials to spread more awareness!
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