By: Linnea Sieh MA, LLPC
The recent popularity of the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” has brought the topics of suicide, sexual assault, and bullying to the forefront of the public eye. To many professionals, this show is concerning, due to the high levels of trauma shown and the refusal to discuss any mental health symptoms or treatments that could have helped the main character. Because it was marketed primarily for teens, some teens are watching this show and feeling overwhelming emotions with no one to safely discuss them with.
Suicide, especially, is a topic that can be frightening or uncomfortable to talk about with your loved ones. One misconception around suicide is that by talking about it, you will put the idea of committing suicide into someone’s mind. This isn’t true, in fact if you are considering asking about it, the idea is oftentimes already in that person’s mind. As a professional counselor, my job involves frequently asking these hard questions to adults and teens. While it is never an easy task, it is important to be up front about suicide, sexual assault, and bullying. All of these topics can be triggers for people already struggling with their mental health symptoms. Knowing where to turn for resources, both local and national, is an important step in understanding how to help people who are experiencing these thoughts. The following is a list of 13 local and national resources and ideas for anyone who may need mental health help:
1. Help get the person to see a mental health professional. All Things Possible Wellness Center is one of the best options for mental health treatment in Macomb County. We can be reached at 586-213-5505, or on the web at https://allthingspossiblewc.com/. We are located in Clinton Township and accept most private and also Medicaid HMO insurances.
2. Macomb County Community Mental Health: This agency offers mental health care for those with state insurance and those who have a low income. Substance use services are also offered here. They have psychiatrists, case managers, and therapists on staff. They can be reached at 586-948-0222, or on the web at http://www.mccmh.net/.
3. Urgent Behavioral Health Care Center accepts anyone as a walk-in for mental health emergencies. They are located at 43800 Garfield Rd in Clinton Township, MI, and provide services 365 days a year and are open 24/7. They can be reached by phone as well at 586-466-6222.
4. Harbor Oaks Hospital is a psychiatric facility for inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient care that is available in emergencies as well. They provide services for mental health care and substance abuse. They are located at 35031 23 Mile Rd New Baltimore, MI 48047. They can be reached by phone at 855-738-8198.
5. In Oakland County, MI, people can call Common Ground at 800-231-1127 for access to 24/7 crisis counseling and for an access screening to receive information regarding mental health providers.
6. Mental Health First Aid training. Many of the core, or state funded, organizations offer some type of Mental Health First Aid training for non-professionals looking to understand more about how to help someone in a crisis setting. Training and Treatment Innovations, Inc, in Oxford and Troy is one of the agencies who has a grant to teach these skills. They can be reached at the Troy office at 248-524-8801 for more information on current and future trainings.
7. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: This crisis line can be reached online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. They can also be reached by phone at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline is a network of local crisis centers and resources that can be accessed 24/7. There is also a live chat option on the website. In addition to this lifeline someone in crisis can text 741741 24/7 for help as well. This text is not answered by the NSPF but has also been found useful.
8. This article from Amy Morin, LCSW, details some reasons why the show could be triggering for people experiencing suicidal thoughts or other mental health concerns. https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/13-things-parents-should-know-about-13-reasons-why-according-to-a-psychotherapis.html?cid=search
9. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is another organization that has multiple resources for those involved in any way with suicide. The website also includes resources for how to talk to someone about their mental health called “Look Both Ways.” https://afsp.org/
10. SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education has a set of tips and talking points for anyone watching “13 Reasons.” https://www.save.org/blog/tips-watching-new-netflix-series-13-reasons/
11. Reporting On Suicide offers guidelines for those responsible for reporting or speaking about suicide. It includes recommendations for bloggers, journalists, and news media professionals. It also lists warning signs and what to do if you know someone exhibiting these signs. http://reportingonsuicide.org/recommendations/
12. Another important piece of taking care of someone who is hurting is to first take care of yourself. Here is a list of self-care activities written by the Good Therapy staff members. It is a very thorough list. If you are having difficulties thinking of activities to do, lists like this can give you other options. http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/134-activities-to-add-to-your-self-care-plan/
13. Above all, know your limits and be prepared to keep your boundaries in place with regards to your own mental health. Have a list of safe people that you can talk to and get professional help if needed. Remember, even if it feels like it, you are not alone!