Too many times people feel alone in their darkest times and never receive the support that they need. COVID-19 brought to light for many the importance of social interaction as a human being. I want you to know that you never have to be alone.
An important part of the therapy process is safety planning for those dark moments. A safety plan is not a guarantee of safety, but when practiced regularly and incorporated into day-to-day life, it can be an important way of minimizing harm. Safety plans often have 5 steps: Identifying triggers, using coping skills, reaching out to supportive friends/family, utilizing warmlines/crisis lines, and calling emergency services.
When you are able to identify the things that ignite dark thoughts or feelings, you are able to recognize what coping skills to utilize. Sometimes that isn’t enough though. I encourage those with a safety plan to really lean into those support persons. Notifying them when you originally make your safety plan with your therapist that you are identifying them as a support person. Talk to those individuals about how they may support you during a difficult moment. What can they do/say to help increase your safety. You could even supply them with a copy of your safety plan. Having a “safe word/phrase” so you can quickly and discretely notify them that you need assistance (the “notOK” app is a free application that can do this for you). This prepares both yourself and your loved ones for a crisis situation.
There are lots of ways to access mental health resources in a time of need…
It is also important to be aware of crisis resources in your community. Below I have provided a list of warmline/hotline numbers for various crises:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
California Warmline: 855-845-7415
Trevor Project (LGBTQ Youth Lifeline): 1-866- 488-7386 or Text “START” to 678678
National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-422-4453
If your crisis has elevated to an Emergency situation please contact 9-1-1 or head straight to your local Emergency Room.