EDUCATION = PREVENTION

We believe that education is the key to prevention. Through mass involvement we can educate others on mental health issues and prevent harmful behaviors.

What Is It?

Self-Injury is the deliberate harming of one’s body, resulting in tissue damage, without the intent of suicide. The most common forms of self-injury include cutting, scratching, burning and bruising. These can range in severity from minor or moderate.¹

Who Does It?

Males and females of all ages, ethnic groups and religions self-injure. Some reasons why people self-injure include distracting themselves from emotional pain, punishing oneself, relieve tension, pain or other emotions to oneself or others, loss of someone close to them, been bullied either physically or sexually.²

Approximately two million cases are reported annually in the United States, but the numbers of unreported cases are far more apparent. About 50 percent of those who engage in self-injury begin around 14 and carry on into their 20’s.

Some warning signs to watch for include unexplained wounds or scars, blood stains, sharp objects, covering up and isolation.

I’m Harming Myself

If you’re ready to face your self-injury head on- good job! This takes a lot of strength and we congratulate you on it. The first step is confiding in another person that you can trust such as a family, friend, youth pastor, pastor, mentor, counselor, teacher, etc. We suggest also contacting us or texting us at +1 804-552-3737 to build a support-system.

Focus on your feelings that lead up to self-harming rather then the actual activity of self-harm. Once you can figure out what it is that leads up to self-harm, then you can start to avoid the triggers or work on the issue that causes the self-harm. Some self-injury triggers are sadness, anger, shame, loneliness, guilt and emptiness. Others include music, photos, words, videos, etc. (4)

There are several Self-Injury Techniques that can take the place of self-injury, we posted an entire list on our website.

(1) Self-Injury Outreach & Support
(2) Self-Injury Foundation
(3) HealthyPlace
(4) Help Guide

What Is It?

Suicide is defined as a death resulting from the use of force against oneself when a preponderance of the evidence indicates that the use of force was intentional. Nothing about suicide is simple, not even the definition. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24 years old. ¹ Every 40 seconds someone in the world dies to suicide; About 50,000 deaths yearly in the United States are caused by suicide.² Some warning signs to watch out for include: Threatening to hurt or kill oneself, looking to seek access to firearms, available pills or other means, talking or writing about death, feeling hopeless, feeling rage or uncontrolled anger, feeling trapped, increasing alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family and society, mood changes³, seeing no reason for living and giving away meaningful items.

Who Does It?

Almost everyone is capable of thinking of suicide at least once in their life.. It can impact anyone and everyone- the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the popular, and the non-popular.

I’m Considering It?

Firstly, it is important to recognize that you’re reading this section now- that shows us that you have some, even if the tiniest, interest in staying alive. Suicide is not the answer. We realize that life is difficult, we’ve been where you are right now- but it is only temporary. You are alive today for a reason, this is not the end. Having these feelings do not make you strange, crazy or a bad person- it just means you are having a tough time right now and you WILL make it through this, we know from experience. Please postpone your decision to end your life and keep reading.

Please start by contacting a helpline in your area immediately- they are there to help you. Next, reach out to a close friend or family member and discuss your feelings, it’s great to have a support-system. Take these steps to heart and continue on day by day, email or text us at +1 804-552-3737 if needed. Make small goals for yourself, it’s good to have something to work towards- even if it’s hour by hour goals. It will be okay. You will make it through this. We’re here. We care. We want to be your support-system.

After you are feeling better we suggest making a “Safety Plan” that can be used the next time you are feeling this way.  

SUICIDE SAFETY PLAN:

CLICK HERE to download and print a Suicide Safety Plan that can be activated when you have suicidal thoughts.

(1) Center For Disease Control & Prevention
(2) World Health Organization
(3) Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

What Is It?

Depression is a prolonged period of sadness. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness. Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. ¹

Who Has It?

Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.² Some symptoms to keep an eye out for yourself or others include: persistent sad or empty feelings, feelings of hopelessness, guilt or helplessness, loss of interest in activities once pleasurable, fatigue or decreased energy, insomnia, excessive sleeping, overeating or appetite loss, thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.¹

I’m Depressed And Need Help?

It’s great that you’re reaching out for help- that takes a lot of courage. If you’re reading this because you want to help a friend- you are a great friend! To help yourself it’s important to not wait too long to get evaluated or treated. In the meantime, try to be active and exercise. Go to a movie or another activity that was once enjoyable. Set realistic goals for yourself such as hour-to-hour goals throughout the day. Try to confide in a close friend, family member and/or contact us. Also remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment¹ To help a friend start by offering emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement. Talk honestly with him or her about how they are feeling. Invite them go out on walks, outings and other activities; If they decline, keep trying but do not push him or her to take on too much too soon.

1) National Institute Of Mental Health

2) World Health Organization

What Is It?

Eating disorders are illnesses in which the people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. People with eating disorders typically become preoccupied with food and their body weight.

In many cases, eating disorders occur together with other psychiatric disorders like anxiety, panic, obsessive compulsive disorder and alcohol and drug abuse problems. ¹

We will review the most common types of eating disorders.

Who Has It?

At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the United States. Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder. 16% of transgender college students reported having an eating disorder. ²

There are different types and warning signs of eating disorders?

Correct- “eating disorder” is a very broad term and there are different warning signs for different types of eating disorders.¹

  •  Anorexia Nervosa
    • Diagnosed usually when patients weigh in at least 15% less than the normal healthy weight for their body type. Some characteristics of Anorexia Nervosa include: difficulties maintaining an appropriate weight for height, age, and stature. People with Anorexia generally restrict the number of calories and the types of foods they eat. Some people with the disorder also exercise compulsively, purge via vomiting and laxatives, and/or binge eating.
    • You cannot tell if a person is struggling with Anorexia by looking at them. A person does not need to be underweight to be struggling. Some warning signs include: dramatic weight loss, dresses in layers to hide weight loss, refusal to eat certain foods, frequent comments about feeling “fat” Despite weight loss, develops food rituals, cooks food for others without eating, withdraws from usual friends and activities as they become more isolated and secretive and has concerns with eating in public.¹
  • Bulimia Nervosa
    • A serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.¹ 
    • Some warning signs include evidence of binge eating (disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time), evidence of purging behaviors (frequent trips to the bathroom after means, smells of vomiting, packages of laxatives), uncomfortable eating around others, food rituals, skips meals or small portions, drinks excessive amounts of water, excessive amounts of mouthwash and mints, hides body with baggy clothing, discolored teeth, shows concern with body weight and extreme mood swings.¹
  •  Binge Eating Disorder
    • Severe, life-threatening, and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort; a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States. ¹
    • Some warning sings include: evidence of binge eating, uncomfortable eating around others, any new practice with food or diets (e.g., cutting out entire food groups), fears of eating in public, steals or hoards food in strange places, creates lifestyle schedules to make time for binge sessions, withdraws from usual friends, frequent diets, extreme concern with body weight, frequent checking in the mirror, frequent stomach cramps and difficulties concentrating.¹
1) National Eating Disorder Association

2)  National Association of Anorexia Nervose & Associated Disorders