Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Calling on Hearts Instead of Hotlines: Options for people who care about people

A couple days ago a friend of mine called the National Suicide Hotline.  He was having a hard day and needed his distress to be heard.  He barely got started talking before the operator interrupted him.  It was the standard suicide assessment:
  • Are you suicidal?
  • Do you have a plan?
  • Do you have the means?
  • Have you set a date? 
Frankly, this is why I would never refer someone I loved to a suicide hotline.  If I had any doubt about killing myself before calling, getting asked impersonal, pro forma questions like these on the worst day of my life would pretty much seal the deal.  Yes, not all hotlines and hotline operators are like this, but enough of them are that I, personally, wouldn't risk it.

So what's the solution....?  After all, this crisis is real.  The pain is real.  The despair is real.  The deaths are real.  Tons and tons of Americans - as well as others worldwide - feel hopeless, worthless, disconnected - as if we have nothing of value to offer and our lives have only become burdens to those we love.

This really is life and death.  So none of us can afford to stick our heads in the sand and pretend anymore :
It isn't meIt isn't someone I loveIt isn't happening. . 
At the same time, the helplessness and confusion about what to do about it is also real.

And that's exactly why peer survivors and peer-developed modalities can be so helpful.  Many, many of us have been there.  Many, many of us know what it is like.  Many, many of us are still alive to talk about it.  We know what we tried, what worked for us and what didn't.  We know what ways of relating gave us hope and helped us to continue on.

Just as important - we know what not to do - what devastated us, wasted precious resources or made life altogether unbearable.

As a result of these experiences, we've developed countless approaches for navigating our own distress and that of our friends and families.

Here's what we offer at Peerly Human:

  • Wednesdays, 8:30-10 pm EDT, Deadly Serious: Talking Openly About Suicide 
  • Thursdays, 8:30-9:30 pm EDT, Intentional Peer Support Workbook Study
  • Saturdays, 5-6 pm EDT, Power Threat Meaning Reflection Group

Join by computer: https://zoom.us/j/119362879

Join by phone: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656  (Meeting ID: 119 362 879)

International callers: https://zoom.us/u/jkwt3wHh

1. Come as a human being
2. Come as you (& only you)
3. No pros, no cops, no 911

We Welcome:

~Your lived experience ~ Your distress ~Your pain ~Your needs   ~Your values  ~Your ideas & insights about what would work for you

Leave Behind:

~ Professional roles, reporting obligations and liability concerns
~ Political, social or organizational agendas
~ Opinions about the experiences of others or what is best for them

Video, voice and text are all options.  Call participants are welcome to come and go.  If you come late, please enter quietly and respect the discussion that is going on.

Other online group support options:  

Hearing Voices Network, http://www.hearingvoicesusa.org/

Mutual aid for voices, visions or extreme or unusual experiences
  • Mondays 7-8:30 EDT on Zoom
  • Thursdays 9-10:30 EDT (starting soon) on Zoom
Contact Caroline@westernmassrlc.org for call-in info

Emotions Anonymous, http://emotionsanonymous.org

Twelve Step peer support for emotional extremes

Spiritual Emergence Anonymous, http://spiritualemergenceanonymous.org/

Twelve Step approach to spiritual emergency
  • Sundays, 8 pm EDT on Zoom
  • Mondays, 1 pm EDT on Zoom

Support Groups Central, https://www.supportgroupscentral.com

Support group options (some online) for mood, anxiety, voices and substances, among other things

Other Options

The big picture

1. Peer respites (spaces offering safe respite)

2. Peer support centers

  • Directory of Statewide Peer Organizations, https://power2u.org/consumer-run-statewide-organizations/
  • Examples of what can be done:

3. Alternatives to Suicide

4. Support lines staffed with people who care and want to listen

5. Intentional Peer Support,   http://www.intentionalpeersupport.org/

6. Emotional CPR, http://www.emotional-cpr.org/

7. Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP),  http://mentalhealthrecovery.com/

WRAP plans can be developed specifically for issues like wanting to die.  WRAP plans also support identification of life-promoting, capacity-restoring activities like art, exercise, creativity, writing, social interaction, nutritious eating, meaningful vocation, relaxation, meditation, spiritual development, body work, massage, yoga, dance, etc.

8. Support for veterans 

U.S. vets are dying by suicide almost every hour on the hour every day of every year

9. Support to withdraw from psychiatric drugs

10. Support for creativity and resilience

Better Days International, https://www.facebook.com/groups/280572615798759/
Discussions, collaborations, workshops between experts by experience.

Icarus Project, https://theicarusproject.net
Navigating the space between brilliance and madness
  • Publications:
 Poetry for Personal Power, http://poetryforpersonalpower.com
What helps you navigate adversity?

11. Support for voices, visions and extreme or unusual experiences

12.  Support for human needs and human rights

Other Resources 

Alternatives to Drugs, Shock & Psychosurgery (yes, they still do that!)

Open Dialogue:

Power Threat Meaning Framework

Trauma-Informed Care

Do you know of other helpful resources that respect personhood and treat us as people first...?  Please share!

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