Reach Out to the Right People for Mental Health Help
This morning, a girl from the United States (I’m in Canada) contacted me and said she had taken 40 pills in a suicide attempt and now needed help immediately.
Please don’t do this.
Please don’t treat the internet like it’s 9-1-1. It isn’t.
It just so happened that I was checking the comments on my blog three minutes after this girl posted this comment so I caught it in time. (Help was called.) But I very much could have missed it. It could have taken me hours to get to this comment. I get many comments and emails and sometimes it takes me a long time to get around to reading them, let alone responding. I am, in no way, an emergency service.
Reaching out to someone is always better than reaching out to no one, but please, if you need mental health help, know who to reach out to.
If You Need Mental Health Help – What Not to Do
Whether you’re in immediate danger or just need help for a mental health issue, here is what you shouldn’t do:
- Post a message on Facebook or Twitter – please don’t do this. People take this as a “joke” or an exaggeration or just ignore these types of pleas routinely. This is not a good way to get the help you need.
- Post a comment on a blog – just as I said, it can take a moderator a lot of time to get to your comment, and even once they have it, it doesn’t mean they can do anything to help you.
- Email a website – unless the website is specifically there to offer help, don’t email a website. You don’t know who will read the email, how long it can take for someone to read the email or whether it will even get marked as spam.
If You Need Help – What to Do
If you need help there are many resources out there dedicated to that. It can be daunting thinking about talking to a stranger about your problems but remember, trained professionals are the ones who are equipped to help you, not random people from the internet (no matter how well-intentioned).
If you need immediate mental health help:
- Dial 9-1-1 – it’s what they’re there for. They will help you. They will save your life. Your life deserves to be saved.
- Go to an emergency room – if you’re a danger to yourself or others they have to treat you regardless of insurance.
- Call an emergency helpline – if you’re not sure if you need to call 9-1-1 or another resource, these people can help you sort it out. (Find suicide hotline numbers here and other helpline numbers here.)
When you’re taking any of these steps, it can help to have a friend or family member by your side.
If you need help, but not immediately:
- Talk to a counselor or therapist – these people are specially trained to offer help in tough situations. Let them help you with yours.
- See a doctor – your doctor is also there to help you, so let her. She will likely refer you to someone else, but that is what you want and need.
In addition to those people, you can enlist others to help you too. Once you have a mental health professional on your side, also talk to:
- An adult you trust (if you’re underage)
- Leaders of your faith
- A support organization
Once you’ve done all that, if you want to also talk to people online, say an online support group, then go for it. Online support communities can be helpful but only once you have people in your real life in place.
Going to the Wrong Person Can be Like Getting No Help at All
Like I said, reaching out to someone – anyone – is generally better than reaching out to no one at all, but the fact of the matter is, if you reach out to the wrong person, it might be absolutely useless.
Believe me when I tell you – it’s worth talking to the professionals. It’s scary. You might not want to do it. But they are the ones who are equipped to help you. I’m not. Twitter people aren’t. Facebook people aren’t. This girl could have died if it weren’t for lucky timing.
So don’t be afraid to talk to the professionals. They can really help you and that’s what you really want.
(To the girl in question: if you read this, know that it's good that you reached out and your life was and is important to save.)
Tracy, N. (2013, October 8). Reach Out to the Right People for Mental Health Help, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/10/reach-out-right-people-help
Author: Natasha Tracy
Thanks for leaving information on these additional resources. I have alerted the site proper so they can incorporate this information into the site.
One is for state hotlines, which might be more familiar with your local resources.
The other is an "online" (text) chat helpline -- which a lot of young people are more willing to use because talking on the phone is very daunting. Their listeners are trained in crisis counseling as well as helping with any mental health issue.
Many people think they have to be actively suicidal to call a suicide hotline, but that is NOT the case. They are all equipped with people trained in listening to any sort of mental health problem.
then click on your state
ONLINE CHAT (text)hotlines:
But who knows, maybe this article will come up on a search and maybe someone will read it and call for the help they need.
It was commendable that Natasha sought to aid this person in a crisis, as it is commendable that she commits to this job that helps hundreds of people in small, or not so small, ways every week.