The results are in! #GivingTuesday 2021 was a great success, thanks to YOU!
In just one day, our community came together and donated an incredible $7,669.70 in support of our neighbors. With the matching gift from Deb and John Ockenfels, that puts our grand total over $10,000!
With $10,000 CommUnity can…
- Train 100 new Crisis Intervention volunteers in suicide prevention
- Provide 60 families with eviction preventing financial support
- Serve 400 Johnson County families a holiday meal
Thank you for helping us help our neighbors in need!
Self-care is critical to your overall mental health. However, some of us often feel guilty when we take time for ourselves over being “productive.”
Winter is a time to spread warmth and care. This December, help us provide food and household necessities to our neighbors in need!
Contacting a crisis line can seem intimidating. And while each call is different, the best thing to remember is what they have in common: no pressure, no judgement, and no more wondering if anyone cares, because we do. Here are some frequently asked questions to give a sense of what a call is like to CommUnity’s crisis lines:
Who answers my call?
When you call, someone with 60 hours of training will answer. Some are staff, but a majority are volunteers. They will introduce themselves right away, and if you feel comfortable, you can share your name as well. We are accredited by International Council for Helplines, a member of the American Association of Suicidology and a Lifeline Crisis Center with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
How do I know I won’t be judged?
Empathy is the defining characteristic of our phone calls. When you call the crisis line, you are speaking to a human equal, who has no agenda other than listening and offering support. But if you’re still feeling tentative about using a crisis line, you’re not alone. If you feel uncomfortable calling, reach out to us online or with a text to 1-855-325-4296.
Should I only call in an emergency?
This is one of the most common questions, and the answer is an absolute no: you can call or chat our crisis lines any time at all. Stressed out? Not sure if you’re going to make rent? Worried about a friend? Even if you aren’t contemplating suicide, we understand wanting someone to listen without judgment. That’s what we’re here for.
Do I have to talk?
Not at all. As a matter of fact, you can text our line at any time, or reach out to our online chat at iowacrisichat.org. Our services can be as discreet as you would need or like, for instance, you could save the crisis line’s number (1-855-325-4296) in your contacts under any name at all. Plus, you can text that same number instead! No matter which method you use—call, chat, or text—we just hope you reach out.
How long can we talk?
We don’t end a conversation until we feel confident that we’ve done everything we can to help. After about an hour or so, a volunteer might begin to see if you’re ready to end the conversation, but a call back to check in is still an option.
Can I call if I’m not local?
Absolutely! We operate as part of the National Suicide Prevention’s 24/7 Lifeline service and encourage calls and chats from anywhere and everywhere.
These services all exist to address a question we all ask sometimes is, “Am I alone?” The answer is no, none of us are alone. We’re all in this together, and that’s why we encourage anyone to call, text, or chat with us at 1-855-325-4296 and IowaCrisisChat.org. No matter what the reason, we’re here for you.
By Lo Styx
For 33 years, National Coming Out Day has been observed on October 11 as a celebration of queer courage and visibility. It’s a day of empowerment for LGBTQ+ folks to come out of “the closet” and take pride in living comfortably at whatever level of openness that might be, whether that’s self-discovery or publicly defining your sexuality.
Since its inception, National Coming Out Day has also been an invitation to rail against the bastion of a largely cisgender- and heterosexual-dominated society.
Psychologist Gregory Cason, PhD, worked on the team that coordinated the first National Coming Out Day in 1988. The brainchild of two LGBTQ+ activists, Jean O’Leary and Robert Eichberg, the day was founded to combat the negativity surrounding gayness by urging LGBTQ+ folks to embrace their sexuality.
“[The founders] decided we can’t have anything in the gay community until people start to come out,” Cason says. “At the time there were very few out celebrities, you didn’t see positive portrayals on TV or in magazines. You only heard negative things in religion, and it was really common and it was plentiful.”
The message behind the day has stayed consistent. Cason notes that the idea was never to urge queer folks to announce their sexuality to great fanfare, but rather to simply take the next step in their coming out journey. And for many people, that step might be extremely subtle. It could look like reading a magazine devoted to LGBTQ+ culture or wearing a piece of clothing that signals other members of the community.
“A lot of people mistake coming out for a black or white—you’re either in or you’re out,” Cason says. “And we said no that’s not reality, it’s a continuum. It happens over time.”
Just as the process of coming out evolves over a person’s lifetime, so too has the concept itself. Today, “coming out” can refer to more than just sexual orientation, but also gender, and in some cases, physical and mental ability.1
And for those who are just embarking on that lifelong journey of coming out, the experience has looked especially different during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because despite increasing normalization of queer visibility in mainstream society, the circumstances many young adults have found themselves in this past year and a half have not been ideal for publicly embracing the less “traditional” parts of their identity.
Coming Out, Stuck at Home
Visibility isn’t everything, points out psychotherapist Adam Blum, MFT, founder of the Gay Therapy Center, the largest private therapy provider for the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S. While it’s incredibly positive to relate to celebrities and public figures who own their sexual identities in mainstream society, not everyone is guaranteed that privilege of positive reception.
“The truth is that many people are still painfully rejected by their families when they come out as LGBTQ+,” Blum says. “Therapists witness the stress and isolation that comes with that rejection. It is the reason that research continues to find higher rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction in the LGBTQ+ community.”
Parental rejection has also been linked to suicidal ideation and a higher risk of homelessness, as young people are often forced to leave the home or choose to do so on their own.2 During the pandemic, countless young people have been stuck in the house or had to move back home to potentially unsupportive families. Many have been forced to stay in the closet in the interest of their own safety, Blum says. This is an extremely stressful scenario.
“They live with the great fear that their secret may be discovered with just one text message read over their shoulder,” he says. “This anxiety, when experienced every day for months, can significantly impact their mental health.”
While some people felt more oppressed by having to keep things under wraps during the pandemic, Cason has also worked with individuals who experienced the opposite.
“Some people felt more corked up and so exploded and told their parents or were more expressive during that time,” Cason says.
He’s also heard from young adults who didn’t identify as gay before the pandemic, but have begun to question their sexuality and explore their identity thanks to more time spent online.
We know the internet and social media, specifically, can be double-edged swords. But in this case, they’ve offered invaluable resources. LGBTQ+ teenagers and young adults have been able to access a near-endless supply of information to help them better understand themselves and navigate the experience of coming out, while also being able to connect with a sea of people who are going or have gone through the same thing.
Blum points to resources for young people like Q Chat Space and The Trevor Project that can be incredibly beneficial during this period of exploration. But for those living in an unsupportive home, it’s crucial to do so with care.
“It is very important to maintain your privacy and secrecy while you are still financially dependent upon adults that you believe may be capable of abandoning their support of you,” Blum says. “Use common sense measures like carefully protecting your phone passwords.”
Coming Out vs. Coming In
The first step of anyone’s coming out journey is coming out to yourself, which can actually be the hardest part, says inclusion activist Ash Beckham, speaker and author of “Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader.” So much positivity comes with living authentically, but it takes work to get there.
Some corners of research highlight the importance of this self-evaluation in coming out and actually reframe the way we think about the process. A 2017 study interviewed queer individuals about the search for queer identity and suggests that “coming in” or shifting the focus inward toward self-acceptance regardless of society’s views helps a person to arrive at a better understanding of their queerness.3
As coming out and queer visibility has become more normalized, shifts are also happening within the LGBTQ+ community. With its continued evolution, the community is forced to be more inclusive, Beckham says.
“When you are creating safe spaces, you can often be—intentionally or non-intentionally—exclusive because you want to protect that safe space,” Beckham says.
For example, as more and more individuals come out as nonbinary or gender fluid, this provides an opportunity for the community to take into account the broad spectrum and various intersections of those that identify as LGBTQ+.
Becoming more inclusive from within can ultimately help more queer folks to come out, creating a domino effect that could eventually reach the individuals who are more deeply repressed. As Beckham says, everyone deserves support regardless of where they stand in their coming out journey.
“That constant reevaluation of—who are we leaving behind? Who still can’t come out today? And what is our responsibility to make that path easier?—is the responsibility that comes with outness and the privilege,” Beckham says.
REMEMBER, IF THINGS FEEL TOO OVERWHELMING, THE TRAINED CRISIS COUNSELORS AT COMMUNITY ARE HERE TO HELP. YOU CAN REACH OUT TO OUR 24/7 CRISIS PHONE OR TEXT LINES, OR IF YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE IN PERSON, OUR 24/7 MOBILE CRISIS TEAM.
MOBILE CRISIS OUTREACH: CALL 1-855-581-8111 AND ASK TO SPEAK WITH MOBILE CRISIS.
Lauren (Lo) Styx is a freelance journalist focused on mental health, sexual wellness and patient advocacy. She is based in Brooklyn and can be found on the internet @laurenstyx.
By Sarah Hugee, CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank
Mobile Crisis Counselor
Suicide is so hard to talk about. It is even harder to talk about when you are facing those thoughts yourself. It can feel like everything in life is adding more and more pressure until it becomes so heavy that you simply want it all to go away. Life can have you feeling defeated, isolated, and exhausted. Oftentimes, people talk themselves out of sharing these thoughts and feelings with loved ones for numerous reasons: they don’t want to be a burden, they believe others have it harder than themselves, and/or they don’t believe others will really care. While these filters can be loud and overbearing, there are things you can do and people you can talk to to overcome them.
How to help yourself
One of the most important parts of overcoming these heavy thoughts is taking care of yourself. For right now, stay safe for today. You don’t need to act on your thoughts right away. You don’t have to plan out the rest of your life. Those thoughts may come and go throughout your life, but focusing on the present is an ideal way to keep yourself safe.
Developing a crisis plan and following it during times of turmoil helps you stay safe and recover more effectively. Along with a crisis plan, having a personalized crisis box, a location filled with items that make you feel calmer, happier, and grounded, is a great way to support yourself in taking steps away from suicidal thoughts.
Giving yourself a break is a great way to combat suicidal thoughts and feelings. Finding a safe place (bedroom, crisis center, friend’s house, park) away from any triggers can support you in relaxing, distracting, and connecting with others. Relaxation and distraction can look different for everyone. Mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation are two great tools that can support you in decompressing those thoughts and emotions. Other activities such as walking in nature, smelling and tasting your favorite foods, watching a movie, and singing are some common (but not exclusive) ways to ground yourself into the present moment.
Connecting with others is one of the most crucial parts of staying safe for now. Remember, no matter how you are feeling, there are people who want to listen and help. Let family and friends know what you are going through; they may be able to further support you in staying safe and feeling heard. Other people who can provide emotional support would be a therapist/counselor, teacher, religious/spiritual leader, or someone from a crisis line.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to a counselor immediately, you can reach out to your local mobile crisis team. In the Johnson County area, CommUnity has a Mobile Crisis Outreach team that is available 24/7/365. Call this number 1 (855) 581-8111 and ask for Mobile Crisis. CommUnity also has a crisis chat line where you can call, text, or chat with a crisis counselor. Call or text (855) 325-4296 to get connected. For a crisis center in the Johnson County area, the Guidelink Access Center is also a 24/7/365 service that supports people struggling with mental health and/or substance use crises. Call this number (319) 688-8000 to gather more information.
Suicidal thoughts are overwhelming and isolating, but you are not alone. There is always someone to lean on, personally or professionally. And when those thoughts of being burdensome or worthless or less than start to take over, remind yourself: “I am worth it. I deserve to be heard and loved. I deserve happiness and support.”
By David Sack, M.D.
For most of us, about the worst thing that happens on the job is our boss gets angry, or we lose a client, or we discover our lunch has gone missing from the company refrigerator.
For first responders—the firefighters, police officers, military personnel, emergency dispatchers, EMTs and others who keep us safe—work can mean close encounters with danger, chaos and tragedy, sometimes on a daily basis.
- Flashbacks, nightmares, and recurring thoughts
- Emotional numbness
- Extreme worry, guilt, anger, or hopelessness
- Avoidance of people, places, or things that are reminders of the trauma
- A loss of interest in things that once gave pleasure
- Feeling anxious, on edge, or jumpy, and startling easily
- Sleep issues
- Problems with alcohol, drugs, or food
The Challenges of Seeking Help
Professionals trained to treat trauma can help those who are suffering reclaim their emotional footing. But that requires acknowledging the problem, and first responders don’t always find that easy.
There are many reasons why.
For one thing, first responders generally operate in a culture that seeks to uphold an image of invincibility. It’s a way of dealing with all they must encounter. Admitting that there are cracks in the armor can seem not only counterproductive but dangerous—a way of undermining the confidence necessary to do the job effectively and safely.
Unfortunately, that’s an attitude that can rise all the way up to management ranks, with those who open up about what they are feeling to their superiors sometimes being told to simply “deal with it” or “toughen up.”
There’s also the fear that any admission they’re struggling will be seen by others as proof that they’re just not up to the job. That can be terrifying to contemplate for first responders, who tend to see their work as not simply an occupation but as their identity. If I’m not a cop, what am I?
Then there’s the stigma surrounding mental health issues, which stereotypes those with mental health problems as somehow defective or weaker, sometimes leading to prejudice and discrimination. That stigma can turn inward as well, leading the person to buy into all the negative things they’ve heard about mental illness and to hide their distress rather than take steps to overcome it.
Encouragingly, there are signs that stigma is slowly beginning to lessen as research helps us better understand mental illness and how to address it, and as more people in the public eye openly share their struggles and anti-stigma campaigns proliferate. And that openness is beginning to filter through to the first responder community, which more and more is realizing its responsibility to be proactive about the mental health of its members.
But stigma is far from vanquished, and it can be especially strong in team environments like the one first responders have, where the actions of one directly affect the well-being of the others. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, as the saying goes. A first responder dealing with trauma can sometimes feel like that weak link.
What Treatment Teaches
If you are a first responder affected by trauma, it can seem difficult to come forward. But trying to ignore what you’re going through only increases your stress and allows the problem to become more entrenched and tougher to treat. It can also lead you to try to self-medicate the distressing feelings with food or drugs or alcohol—and that can lead to a whole other set of problems, including addiction.
Specialized, confidential treatment for first responders does exist, and this is what it can help you understand:
- You aren’t alone. About one in five people experiences a mental health issue in any given year, research shows. And the extraordinary stressors that first responders face boost that risk.
- Trauma is a normal human response to an abnormal situation. It would be strange, after all, if you had no negative reaction to putting your life at risk each day or seeing terrible things happen to people and being, at times, powerless to help. Understanding this allows you to move from a mindset of “what’s wrong with me?” to a more empowering “this is what’s going on with me.”
- Trauma is better understood as an injury to the brain than an illness. In fact, some groups prefer the term post-traumatic stress injury to post-traumatic stress disorder. Left unaddressed, however, that injury can lead to illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
- We are all wired differently in terms of how trauma affects us, but each of us can build resilience to it. That’s achieved primarily by working on your connections with others. The more supportive, caring, trustworthy people you have in your life, the more able you are to cope with the experiences that can lead to trauma. Also important is learning how to manage feelings, improve communication skills, and develop more realistic and positive ways of viewing yourself and your experiences.
Another bonus to getting help for trauma is this: It’s not just you who benefits. You family, your friends—all the people who are closest to you and are often the first to notice your struggles—will gain much from the improved relationship you’ve built with yourself. It also helps your fellow first responders, who may be suffering silently in exactly the same way. When you allow yourself to be helped, you make it okay for them to get help, too.
About the Author
Written by Dalia Mogahed
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
I was a new mother when murderous criminals flew two planes through the Twin Towers 20 years ago.
My son, Tariq, was a little over a year old, and I had taken that time off from my corporate job to be a full-time mom. We named Tariq after the 87th chapter of the Quran, a set of verses about guardian angels and God’s plan for each of us despite our apparent difficulties.
The melodic recitation explained that “Tariq” meant “a star of piercing brightness.” And my son was just that — a light in my life. Inquisitive, an early talker, incredibly affectionate. I loved being a mom. I threw myself into it fully like everything I do.
But there were also spans of days and sometimes weeks when I felt completely overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.
The attacks on that September morning pierced one such stretch of heaviness.
The next day, we moved from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh. I’ve often told the story of my first week after the attacks and how much it meant to me to walk into my new mosque that first Friday to find half the congregation made up of people of every faith and no faith, there to show our community solidarity, not scorn. It was genuinely heartening, a real moment of human connection that changed the way a terrible event was impacting my world.
But it was also temporary. The days and weeks that followed were some of the most alienating and enraging of my life. Not only had my country been harmed, but this horror was followed by a string of traumas: the war in Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, the FBI visit to my house, being randomly selected for secondary screening every time I traveled, the micro assault at Target, news of targeted violence against mosques and Islamic schools and the run up to the Iraq War.
All this was the backdrop to beginning business school as the only hijab-wearing woman in a class of 150, toddler in hand, and figuring out a new city where I knew no one. I felt myself sinking into emotional quicksand, wanting to isolate myself from an outside world I perceived as hostile to me.
Much has been written about the impact of 9/11 on the general American public’s perception of Islam and Muslims. How does the Muslim community do a better job of reaching out and building understanding? How do Muslims and allies educate the public, swaying the average American’s worldview to a more tolerant perspective?
Addressing Islamophobia among the public at large is critical and should concern all Americans. But what of the emotional and psychological impact of this toxic climate on Muslims’ worldview, a community that is rarely spoken of in terms of vulnerability or emotional wounds. What is the mental health impact of the past 20 years on those whose identity had become a “smear” for a political campaign to correct?
A new study in JAMA Psychiatry using ISPU data suggests we cannot afford to ignore this issue. Muslims in the U.S., a religious group that is vulnerable to discrimination, are twice as likely as other faith groups to have attempted suicide. It is a troubling statistic, and, thankfully, Muslim mental health professionals are taking it seriously.
Since 9/11, Muslim psychologists and psychiatrists have established several organizations to meet the unique mental health needs of Americans who are Muslim. These include the Institute for Muslim Mental Health, which provides a directory of Muslim mental health practitioners, and the Khalil Center, which offers culturally informed direct care, among others.
One of the lead authors on the JAMA article, Dr. Rania Awaad, a professor at Stanford University and head of the Stanford Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology Lab, is conducting trainings for imams around the country on suicide prevention and intervention. She is also building a new organization, Maristan, which seeks to revive traditional Muslim models of holistic mental health care. It also emphasizes that our faith tradition sanctions and indeed encourages seeking help for mental health needs from medical professionals.
I ultimately made it out of the quicksand with therapy — and a divine sign.
While making dinner one evening in the late fall of that year, I found my peace in a story I heard on a tape of lectures about the prophet’s life. The Meccan elite persecuted the messenger of God and his followers for 12 years, torturing and starving them for what they believed. But he called one particular incident the most difficult day of his life.
It was when the leaders of Ta’if, a mountain village 70 miles outside Mecca, cast the prophet out, and then children and street thugs pelted him with stones as he left in a show of rejection and ridicule. Yet the prophet’s heart never hardened. Instead of isolation, he continued to work for compassionate connection.
If my moral example built bridges and not bunkers in pagan Mecca, then I could certainly do the same in suburban Pittsburgh. I eventually went from not wanting to leave my house to leading the outreach program at my new mosque.
If the messenger’s story got me through my darkest hour, what got him through his?
Turns out that while being stoned on that heartbreaking day, he recited one particular section of Scripture over and over for comfort and solace. It was a section called Tariq, the 87th chapter of the Quran, a set of verses about guardian angels and God’s plan for each of us despite our apparent difficulties.
(Dalia Mogahed is the director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CommUnity Crisis Services & Food Bank. This article was first published by Religious News Service at bit.ly/muslimmentalhealth)
If you would like to learn more about the links between Islamophobia and suicide, visit bit.ly/americanmuslimsandsuicideprevention.
Remember, if things feel too overwhelming, the trained crisis counselors at CommUnity are here to help. You can reach out to our 24/7 crisis phone or text lines, or if you need to speak to someone in person, our 24/7 Mobile Crisis team.
Mobile Crisis Outreach: Call 1-855-800-1239 and ask to speak with Mobile Crisis.
By Aiden Nutter-Rowher, CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank
GuideLink Program Manager
It can feel like it came out of nowhere; one minute you’re talking about the latest episode of your favorite show, and the next moment your loved one is telling you they’re thinking of suicide. Or maybe you knew something was bothering them for a while now, and you finally asked what was wrong. No matter how the topic gets brought up, when someone close to you talks about suicide, it can be a terrifying experience. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help!
There’s a harmful myth that talking about suicide will cause a person to act on thoughts of suicide, but nothing can be further from the truth. By talking to your loved one about their thoughts, you’re signaling to them that you care and you’re ready to help.
Below are some steps to help you when someone you care about is talking about suicide:
Don’t panic, but let yourself feel
Someone you care about discussing suicide is distressing. Even for those of us “in the field” of suicide prevention/intervention, it is a completely different discussion when it’s someone in our personal lives. It’s natural to freeze up, panic, want to sprint from the room, deflect with humor, avoid the conversation, or whatever else you could think of to protect yourself from the uncomfortable feelings that emerge.
First, don’t panic. The fact that your loved one is even talking to you about suicide means they trust you and think you’re someone who could help. If they’re reaching out at all, that’s a small sign that they want to live. It may be a scary conversation, but you’re now in a great position to really help them and even strengthen your relationship.
But, also don’t think you have to respond perfectly; it’s okay to let them know that you’re scared and sad. The biggest thing is to not make it about you. Instead, let them know that you’re upset they’re thinking of suicide, but you’re not upset at all that they told you. Tell them that you are upset because you love and care about them, and you want to help. They’ve been vulnerable with you by telling you they’re thinking of suicide, so you can be vulnerable with them, too. Let them know you love them and are ready to hear what they have to say.
Listen to them
Imagine for a second that you’re at the doctor’s office, and you just told your doctor that you’ve been feeling really sick. Rather than asking more about it or talking about your symptoms, they jump immediately to referring you to a specialist before pushing you out the door. How would that make you feel? Sure, you now have an appointment with that specialist, but you’re still going to have to spend agonizing weeks feeling sick and wondering what is wrong with you. Your doctor taking that extra 10-15 minutes to really talk with you could have made things so much better!
Like in the above scenario, the more effective thing you can do in this situation is to take the time to listen to your loved one. Give your loved one a chance to talk and express themselves; what they’re feeling, the events leading up to thoughts of suicide, and where they are now with those thoughts. Getting the chance to unload can lift an enormous amount of stress off the person’s shoulders, and they may start to talk about good things connecting them to life on their own. Giving them the space to do so is a way to tell them you love and care about them.
You don’t want to bombard your loved one with questions or cut them off when they’re trying to talk, but asking for clarification can signal to them that you’re paying attention. Ask them to explain more about what they’re feeling, and what led to thoughts of suicide. And don’t be afraid to ask about their current thoughts. The following can help you assess what kind of care they might need:
- Are they currently thinking of suicide?
- If they are thinking of suicide now, have they thought about when they might act on those thoughts?
- What are some of the ways they might act on those thoughts of suicide?
- Have they already done something to act on thoughts of suicide?
- Are they currently thinking of suicide?
If your loved one has already done something to put their lives at risk, please call 911 or take them to the nearest hospital for care.
Connect with care
Now that your loved one has had the chance to express themselves and tell their story, they might be ready to move on to getting help. Depending on what they need, there are all kinds of support out there to help them.
If your loved one needs to talk to a counselor immediately, you could reach out to your local mobile crisis team. Here in Johnson and Iowa counties, CommUnity’s Mobile Crisis Outreach team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, and will dispatch to wherever you are to meet with you. These counselors are specially trained to help people with thoughts of suicide and can help figure out a plan moving forward to keep your loved one safe. Mobile crisis services are completely free.
- To contact Mobile Crisis Outreach, call 1-855-895-8398 and ask for Mobile Crisis.
Another option is to seek out community support. In Iowa City, GuideLink Center is a 24-hour mental health access center that provides community-based support for mental health and substance use crises. When you come to the center, you’ll immediately meet with a triage counselor that will help you and your loved one figure out things that could help. At GuideLink, there are crisis stabilization beds, which are places your loved one can stay for 1-5 days and receive care/supervision from staff while they set up longer-term resources. There are also other services available, including substance abuse help and connection with local resources.
- For questions, please call GuideLink at 319-688-8000 or go to the center located at 300 Southgate Ave
Finally, they can also call, text, or chat with CommUnity’s trained volunteers and staff on the local crisis lines. Crisis lines are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and can be used anonymously if your loved one is uncertain about talking to someone other than you.
- You can call or text 1-855-325-4296, or go to http://iowacrisischat.org/ to reach the crisis lines.
Take care of yourself
Once your loved one is taken care of, it’s time to take care of yourself! You’re probably feeling all sorts of things right now, including absolutely exhausted. This is normal; you just did a huge amount of emotional work in helping your loved one stay safe. You may also still be afraid for them, or dealing with your own depression or anxiety.
All the above resources are available to you as well, even if you’re not having thoughts of suicide. Additionally, there are lots of peer-support groups aimed at helping families and loved ones of people with mental health concerns. Mobile crisis, GuideLink, and the crisis lines can all help you connect with resources of your own, so you can take care of yourself.
- NAMI Johnson County offers a family support group weekly; you can find more info at https://namijc.org/support-groups-2/ .
You may also be interested in learning more about suicide prevention and intervention. Many organizations offer training about suicide for free to the local community and can help you build skills to help others. CommUnity offers both QPR and ASIST to residents of the area, which are the same trainings that our volunteers and crisis counselors go through. For more information, go to: https://builtbycommunity.org/training/
Suicide is a heavy topic, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and frightened when it strikes close to home. But giving your loved one the chance to talk about their experience, listening and asking questions with care and compassion, and reaching out for help are all ways to help them get through this tough time. CommUnity is dedicated to helping those in our community struggling with thoughts of suicide, and our staff and volunteers are always ready and eager to help you and your loved ones. If ever you need help, please reach out to us!