Talking to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide is challenging to say the least. It presents challenges beyond the discomfort we commonly feel in the presence of grief. Despite our hearts being in the right place, the eagerness to comfort someone may mistakenly cause us to say something hurtful. The fear of compounding the loss survivor’s pain by saying the wrong thing may cause us to avoid those who are grieving. Let them know about the Suicide Loss Support Groups that happen throughout the month in our area. And below are some tips from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on navigating conversations with suicide loss survivors in a kind, thoughtful, and responsible way: “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.” Suicide loss is complicated, devastating, dumbfounding. There are no easy answers and no easy fixes. Be a patient, nonjudgmental listener. Be a safe place for the loss survivor to give voice to their anger, frustration, fear, relief, sadness, or any other emotion they may feel. Or just be there with them – the reassuring presence of someone who cares may offer a lot of solace. Refrain from saying, “I understand what you’re going through.” Because suicide loss is not like other losses, you cannot truly understand how the loss survivor is feeling. [...]
Akpan is a toddler from Nigeria. His parents adore their little champ, even though he’s unable to call them “mummy” or “daddy.” They know he will speak someday, but when? They watch him struggle daily to mutter a sweet word. He can’t run to give his parents a hug. When will their child speak and walk? Who will help and what can we do to help him?
Summer is here –- at last -– and for many people, thoughts turn to fun family getaways, sitting out by the pool or on the beach and sweet treats like ice cream or water ice to cool us down. But for people who are living on the street, these options of summer escapes aren’t so readily accessible. Hundreds of people experience periods of street homelessness in Philadelphia, using street corners, transit hubs and parks as shelter. Heavily-traveled areas, particularly in and around Center City, reveal the faces of this sad reality. And while being homeless can be devastating enough for an individual, the problem is only compounded for those who are also living with an untreated mental illness, addiction, or both.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and as we celebrate recovery, we strive to increase awareness and work to end stigma around mental health. Through the offering of comprehensive services, resources, and access to behavioral healthcare, we have a strong commitment to helping youth, adults, and families in greatest need, especially as the rates of reported mental health challenges continue to rise, especially among our youth. Last week was National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and now, more than ever, it’s critical that we all take some time to pay attention to the emotional health and well-being of our children.