Thank You, Active Minds

Congratulations to Active Minds of Ithaca College, the top fundraising team at Saturday’s Out of the Darkness Ithaca Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The 16-member Active Minds Team raised $1,060, followed by $953 by Team Hope, $706 by Bob’s Angels, $700 by Team Scott, and $555 by the Cornell University Childcare Center.

Out of the Darkness walks raise awareness about suicide prevention and raise monies for new research, educational programs, advocacy for public policy, and supporting survivors of suicide loss. This year’s Ithaca Walk raised a total of $9,629.

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Active Minds Co-President S. Makai Andrews, who served as AM’s Team Captain for the Ithaca Walk, was the third-highest individual fundraiser with $555 in donations. AM Social Media Chair Kristin Butler brought in another $210.

Andrews said she joined the walk wanting to give hope to people who may be battling suicidal feelings. “There is still an incredible degree of shame and disapproval associated with those who struggle with their mental health,” she said. “Though we know what bipolar disorder is now, that doesn’t mean that those experiencing manic or depressive episodes are always given the time off work that they may need. Though we know what depression is, we’re still telling people to perk up.”

Elizabeth Mortlock was the second-highest individual fundraiser with $782 in donations.

The Ithaca Walk’s No. 1 individual fundraiser was Clara Scher, who brought in $825 donations. Scher said she sought to spread awareness and raise money in memory of her friend and teammate Madison Holleran, a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania track and field student athlete who took her own life in January 2014.

Scher was one of several walkers who said they were driven to help prevent suicide after experiencing the devastating loss of a friend or loved one. “This tragedy exposed the debilitating effects of major depression, and motivated me to devote my career in the field of psychology to help prevent the loss of others to this horrific disease,” Scher said.

Donations to the Ithaca Walk can be made through December 31—click here to contribute through the Active Minds Team.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

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S. Makai Andrews and Kristin Butler

 

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Ithaca Walk Registration

 

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Ithaca Walkers gathering at Cass Park

 

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Spreading the message with AFSP merch

 

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Active Minds table at the Ithaca Walk

 

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Out of the Darkness walks

Photos courtesy of Active Minds of Ithaca College

 

Save a Life: Learn the Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Consider sharing this post. It’s National Suicide Prevention Week— please take a moment to review the Risk Factors and the Warning Signs as they may apply to loved ones, friends, colleagues, or even yourself. Click here for the Risk Factors/Warning Signs page of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. People with Risk Factors or exhibiting Warning Signs are strongly encouraged to seek treatment—suicide is preventable. If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, please consider contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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From AFSP:

“There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.”

Risk Factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life:

Health Risk Factors—such as mental health conditions, substance abuse disorders, or serious/chronic health conditions and/or pain.

Environmental Risk Factors—such as stressful life events, prolonged stress conditions, access to lethal means, and exposure to suicide.

Historical Risk Factors—such as previous suicide attempts.

Be aware of Warning Signs.

According to AFSP, most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Warning Signs relate to a person’s Talk— about “being a burden to others,” or “feeling trapped,” or “experiencing unbearable pain,” or “having no reason to live,” or “killing themselves.”

Warning Signs relate to a person’s Mood—displaying one or more moods such as depression, loss of interest, rage, irritability, humiliation, anxiety.

Warning Signs relate to a person’s Behavior—such as increased use of alcohol or drugs, aggression, acting recklessly, withdrawing from activities, isolating from family and friends, sleeping too much or too little, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, giving away prized possessions, and looking for a way to kill themselves.

“Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change.”

How to help someone who may be struggling: click here for guidance from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Click on the infographic below to download a Warning Signs checklist.

Ithacans Walk to Prevent Suicide

The annual Ithaca Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is this Saturday, September 16, from 12 Noon to 2 p.m. You can walk, donate, or do both! Support the Walkers from Ithaca College’s amazing Active Minds chapter by clicking here.

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AFSP’s “Out of the Darkness” walks raise awareness and funds for new research, educational programs, advocacy for public policy, and supporting survivors of suicide loss. The Ithaca Walk’s fundraising goal is $20,000.

From Ithaca College’s Active Minds chapter:

“We are joining the community of nearly 250,000 people walking in hundreds of cities across the country in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. All donations are 100 percent tax deductible and will help bring AFSP one step closer to achieving their bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.”

Walk Date: September 16, 2017

Walk Location: Cass Park, Water Front Trail

Check-in/Registration Time: 10:30 a.m.

Walk Begins: 12 Noon

Walk Ends: 2:00 p.m.

For more information:

Contact Phone: (607) 327 3370

Contact Email: IthacaAFSP@gmail.com

To become a Walker, click here to register online. (Or you can register in person from 10:30 a.m. to 12 Noon right before the Walk.)

To donate through a member of the Ithaca College Active Minds Team, click here!

To make a donation through another Ithaca Walk participant, click here.

To make a donation directly to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, click here.

Photo caption: Active Minds past co-President Alex Lopez and current co-President Makai Andrews at The Sophie Fund’s meeting in April.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

 

National Suicide Prevention Week—and You

“You can make a tremendous difference for yourself and those around you simply by being aware of the facts about suicide, learning how to shore up your mental health and resilience, making use of the suicide prevention resources available to you, and sharing them so more people know how to recognize the risks and warning signs of suicide, and can take action.” —American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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National Suicide Prevention Week is an opportunity to take some concrete steps that may save a life. Check out “Mental Health for Yourself and Those in Your Community,” a useful page on the website of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It contains video tips on mental health and the following resources:

Some Thoughts about the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why

Some Thoughts about the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why concisely lists the factors to be aware of when watching or discussing the popular show that deals with suicide.

Mental Health Social Sharables

Educate your community to help stop suicide with these informative social sharables.

Have an Honest Conversation

Always trust your instinct if you’re worried about someone. Find out how to have a direct, productive conversation to let others know you care.

News and Features

Stay up-to-date on the very latest news stories involving mental health.

Talk Saves Lives Brochure

Talk truly can save lives. Learn the risk factors, warning signs, how to reach out, and take action if you’re concerned about someone.

Learn the Signs—Wallet Card

A pocket-size reference for knowing what to look out for to keep yourself and others safe.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

 

 

Understanding and Compassion

Suicide is a difficult thing to grasp or absorb. That is partly because of ignorance about suicide, which in turn is driven by the stigma around suicide and mental illness. The truth is that there’s much that every one of us can do to prevent suicide, if we put out hearts and minds into it.

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Many experts agree that fighting stigma has a big role in the effort. Suicide has complex causes, and often mental illness is a big factor. The stigma prevents too many people from seeking help, and prevents others from reaching out or providing appropriate support to people in need. A writer for The Mighty has this advice for us: “Talk about all of those topics that are taboo, get information, make them come alive, so if someone comes to you with a mental condition, they know you will listen.”

A good place to start, if you haven’t done so already, is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Its website provides quick resources about Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs, and how to Find Support if you are having thoughts of suicide or are worried about someone who might be at risk.

Want to help more? AFSP has a Take Action web page with opportunities to get involved in suicide prevention.