Keith is a regular contributor to Bring Change 2 Mind’s blog, and to the Good Men Project. If you are interested in working with Keith feel free to reach out. Contact WL if you want to be a Guest Blogger.
Worth Living Ambassador & Official DJ Scratchley Q
Scrathley Q is a 23 year old from Manitoulin Island who loves sharing her passion for DJing with the public. She is a natural performer who has no problem filling a dance floor and keeping it moving. Scratchley Q is a high energy performer who has established a reputation as a versatile, professional, and hardworking DJ. She presents a weekly Top 10 Countdown of music videos for the WL blog. She also has 5 Volumes of Worth Living Therapy BBP www.mixcloud.com/djscratchleyq. Her contributions to WL are inspiring and impressive.
Worth Living Top 10 Countdown- Songs for Relaxation
10. Massive Attack- Exchange
9. Alexi Murdoch- Orange Sky
8. Radiohead- High and Dry
7. Sade- By Your Side
6. Pink Floyd- Learning to Fly
5. Michael Hoppe- Shadows Fall
4. Coldplay- Strawberry Swing
3. Incubus- Aqueous Transmission
2. Girish- Diamonds in the Sun
1. Marconi Union- Weightless
Worth Living Ambassador Sheila Houlahan
Indian-American Actor/Singer Sheila Houlahan has been seen on stage and screen around the world. Her most notable credits include performing the music of A. R. Rahman with the Seattle Symphony as the headliner Mezzo soloist for the Celebrate Asia! 2017 concert, performing with A.R. Rahman at the 2016 CES Intel Live Show in Las Vegas, winning an award with the Washington District Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2014, singing as a featured soprano soloist for the 2009 Salzburg Festival, playing the role of Optima Prime in the feature film Wallflower, produced by Paradigm Studios and set to release this year, and playing the role of Ghania, the villain’s henchwoman, in the new superhero TV show The Exceptionals.
She received a Bachelor’s of Music in Operatic Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She has worked with exceptional artists such as: A.R. Rahman, Robin Eubanks, Christopher Plummer, Martina Arroyo, Donna D. Vaughn, Alan Gilbert, Ron Browning, Bad Animals Recording Studios, and has also done commercials for Microsoft, T-Mobile, AAA and Doritos. Sheila is currently working on her first solo album under the pseudonym iamshiiila and a corresponding music video series.
When she’s not acting or singing, Sheila enjoys amateur foraging, kicking butt in Krav Maga and screwing up basic recipes in the kitchen.
A chat between Keith and Shelia
How would describe your music?
This is a great question! The short answer would be “pop”, the long answer would be that it is a mix of the myriad of influences I’ve had on my music career. I got my start as a classical singer, but began branching out to other styles for fun before falling in love with contemporary music. I would say I’m most influenced by Imogen Heap, Vienna Teng, Tori Amos, SIA, and Florence and the Machine. I’ve always loved that contrast between ethereal/folk elements with electronic instrumentals and a powerful female vocal. I’m Indian-American and have recently begun re-connecting with my Indian roots through collaborations with Bollywood legend A. R. Rahman, and that has definitely influenced my writing style as well. I’m always searching for that “next sound” and try to incorporate that into my work.
When did you start singing and writing songs?
I began singing at the age of 7 when I joined a professional children’s choir called the Seattle Girls’ Choir where I learned the bulk of my musical foundation. I sang with them through the age of 18, and it was through SGC that I met my first voice teacher Lois White at the age of 12. She encouraged me to pursue singing professionally, and it was through her that I learned the skills necessary to pursue music at the Manhattan School of Music. After graduating college, I began working intensely with my two current coaches, Erich Parce and Ron Browning, on a sturdy vocal technique that would easily fit any genre. Ron Browning turned me on to contemporary music and pushed me to start writing my own music, and through him I began exploring song writing a year ago. I co-wrote Keep On Marching On with master producer Richard Harris and recently began collaborating on an EP with grammy award winning producer Avery “Avenue Beats”.
I like to think of myself as a life-long learner and therefore firmly believe that I’ve only just started to learn how to sing and write music. One of the greatest joys in life is waking up in the morning and realizing you “aren’t done yet”; knowing that there is still so much in life to learn and experience kept me going through the darkest times in my life, and I trust that said information will keep me hoping for a better tomorrow.
What other artists have inspired you?
The list is endless, so I’ll stick to two artists who have particularly inspired me. I had no interest in pursuing a career as a solo artist until I saw SIA in concert last September on her Nostalgic for the Present tour. I’ve always admired her as an artist, but it was through her tour that I learned how much of her music was inspired through her own struggles with mental health and addiction. That resonated with me deeply as I’m now two years out from recovery myself! I began devouring every song she had ever written, and through that process discovered I wanted to share my personal struggles with the world as well. It takes a lot of courage to tell your story, and her strength through vulnerability floored me. Artists are storytellers first and foremost and I have always been moved by a well-told story. Seeing that people needed to hear these stories made me realize that I wanted nothing more than to help people heal through my own experiences and music. That is my ultimate dream.
I also deeply admire Bollywood legend A. R. Rahman and feel grateful for his mentorship and friendship in my life. I highly recommend you listen to his interviews and learn his story sometime; there is a man who has fought against all the odds and succeeded because he never stopped believing in himself, his art and his mission. He is the kindest, humblest, purest man, and he taught me that success comes from maintaining an attitude of gratitude.
Your song – Keep on Marching On – what thoughts and feelings came together to write it? What is the source, the reason behind it, is it a personal anthem?
I wrote Keep On Marching On right after the women’s marches in late January. After the 2016 election, I felt disillusioned with America and truly felt like there wasn’t a place in the world for someone like me. I didn’t feel connected to people again until after I saw how many people around the world marched for unity, and it made me realize that hiding from the world wasn’t going to help anybody. I wanted to write something that captured the hope I felt at seeing so many people come together for justice, and to validate folks whose daily lives are “marches” due to struggles with health, mental health, relationships, finances, friendships, family, religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, age, ability, access, and so much more. It can feel like a marathon some days just to get out of bed in the morning, and society doesn’t often remind us that we aren’t alone in our struggles. I wanted my song to be an anthem for the people; we must remember to keep on fighting the big fights and little fights alike, and we must take pride in every step we take towards a better tomorrow.
Tell us more about your journey, if you are comfortable doing so?
Absolutely! I have struggled with my own health and mental health for my entire life, and have only been declared functionally “healthy” in the last year or so. I battled a severe eating disorder for 12 years and am proud to say I’ve been fully recovered for 2 years now! It certainly hasn’t always been an easy journey, and every little slip out of recovery brings on a new wave of anxiety and depression that can be hard to quell. I certainly wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for my music, my writing, my friends, my family, my mentors and my students (you know who you are!); they give me reason to get out of bed in the morning when even the simplest of tasks feel impossible. I’ve been sick for years and my family could never figure out why; I’ve had severe organ failure and even went through a heart attack before years of testing revealed that this entire time I’ve been eating food my body is severely allergic to: eggs and almonds! Once the doctors realized I was living in a state of constant anaphylactic shock, everything began to make sense. I didn’t realize it wasn’t normal to feel pain and extreme fatigue all the time, and as my body healed my mind began to relax. I still struggle with my mental health, but it is a whole lot easier to feel safe and stable when your body isn’t attacking itself. I now actively advocate for better mental health care, which is how I came across Worth Living. We need to take mental health care more seriously as a people. We need to stop casting it aside as something “unimportant”, and we need to stop gendering mental health and health concerns in general. I will never understand how people can brush off suicide so easily; I am a a suicide attempt survivor and believe that suicidal thoughts need to be treated as seriously as a heart attack. The day people take mental health seriously is the day I can relax as a mental health advocate; I feel fortunate that I can use my art as a platform to raise awareness in general and to tell my own story of ED recovery.
Thank you so much!! I’d love to do a follow-up interview in a week or so to talk about my new single Achieve, which features reggae legend Junior Reid and dropped last week! I am so excited to collaborate with you!! 🙂
Watch the Keep On Marching On video at
It is also on all major platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and more!
Please follow Sheila on Instagram and Twitter, which can be found at @iamshiiila 🙂
Worth Living Ambassador Emma Pratt
Hi everyone! My name is Emma and I am 23 years old from Ottawa, Ontario. Mental health has been a part of my personal life for about seven years. It had found its way into almost every part of my life when I decided why not invite it in fully and make it my job! I am a Social Service Worker with a passion for mental health. I try to do all that I can to create conversations surrounding mental health and to reduce the stigma that surrounds it. I like to live by saying “When we replace the I in illness with a We, it becomes wellness,” and that is my goal in life.
Five Tips for Bad Body Image Days
When I was 19 years old, I developed an eating disorder. I engaged in disordered behaviours for about 14 months, but when I look back on my life before my disorder I realize that I have struggled with poor body image and a negative relationship with food from a very young age. Thankfully, with the help of supportive family, friends, and professional support, I am now in recovery. Despite not engaging in any symptoms of my eating disorder anymore, I still have days where my body image is awful. There are days where I feel so poorly about myself that it gets in the way of my life. I know I am not alone in this and with time I have found a few things that help me during these rough days. So without further ado, here are my tips on how to survive a bad body image day.
1.Look in the mirror. On days when my negative self-talk is particularly loud, I subconsciously avoid looking in mirrors. Though what I have found is that when I stand in front of the mirror, I am able to realize that the negative things I am saying about myself are not true.
2.Be mindful of your thoughts. Do not shut your thoughts out. Do not tell yourself to ignore them. Listen to the thoughts and the self-talk you’re engaging in. Listen to it and challenge it. For example, if you find that you are constantly telling yourself that you are “too big” to wear a certain article of clothing, don’t immediately give into that thought. By shutting your thoughts out, you give power to them. When you listen to them and you challenge them, you have the power.
3.Sleep. I find that on days where I am more tired or run down than usual, my body image tends to be lower. If I wake up and can tell that my headspace and body image are negative, and I don’t have work or other commitments, you can bet that I’m going to roll over and go back to sleep. In the event that I have work or another commitment, I may find the time to take a nap at some point. The way my body feels often impacts my mind, listening to both is key.
4.Meditate. Meditation is not for everyone, I get that. But if it’s for you, then use it! I’ve recently been working on incorporating meditation into my daily life (it’s a work in progress). Since I have begun practicing, I have noticed that I am able to use the skills at other points in my life. I personally enjoy guided meditations. I find that having someone guide me through a ten-minute meditation makes it all seem a bit more doable. I have found that Gabrielle Bernstein’s guided meditations are super helpful to me. I downloaded them to my phone so I can have them at my disposal! On my bad body image days I like to listen to her “Forgiving Meditation.” Poor body image has effects on all parts of me, and I end up in a vicious cycle of hating myself and then beating myself up for being too hard on myself and then it repeats. This particular meditation really helps me to release the anger and hate that I put myself through and work towards forgiving myself.
5.STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. This one is probably the hardest, but also probably the most important. We live in a time where people are sharing many parts of their lives with the world. Due to this, it’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other people; whether it is someone’s body or their life. These comparisons are so harmful. First of all, it can create the internal notion that we are not as good as someone else. Second, the things people share on social media are not things to compare. I remember seeing a quote somewhere that said “Stop comparing your blooper cut to someone else’s highlight reel.” This is exactly how I feel when it comes to social media. People share the exciting and happy parts of their lives. They share when they look the best. When you are feeling at your worst, or lower than average, I urge you to remember that social media is a Hollywood movie version of someone’s life, not something to which you should compare yours.
Body image is a tough thing and so is learning to love yourself. I would go so far as to say that it is nearly impossible to love yourself one hundred percent of the time, but in the moments you don’t I hope these tips can help you get through the tough days.
Worth Living Founder Keith Anderson
On Tour with The Rolling Stones – 6 concerts in 3 countries over 14 years – Keith’s journey through mental illness is mapped out through these concerts, from the darkness of depression to the brightness of good health. Along the path, he learned that he could have a second chance at a real life
Thanks to Fit Mind Matters, founded by Lee Havern of Ireland, for hosting the Podcast. Lee is a Mentor spreading the Happiness message through Mental Health and Well-being through Blogs and Podcasts. He is open to discussing everything!
Worth Living Ambassador Beth Allen
Beth Allen is a Mental Health Advocate, and an active video blogger who aims to be informative, fun, and truthful whilst showing life with Mental Illness. Having suffered in silence for 10 years with GAD, Emetophobia, Anorexia and Depression, Beth is 100% committed to showing the world that it’s okay to not be okay.
Welcome to Miss Anxiety
Welcome to the Miss Anxiety channel! This video is an introduction about what content to expect and a little information about Beth Allen. Keep in touch by subscribing to the channel. Thanks for watching and have a good day!
Worth Living Ambassador Cierra Garrow
Cierra Garrow is a 22-year-old mental health advocate working as an IBI Therapist and a Community Based Psychiatric Rights Adviser in Northwestern Ontario. She recently completed a Bachelor of Psychology and Indigenous Learning from Lakehead University with First Class Standing. Due to Cierra’s struggles with borderline personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, dysthymia, and suicide, she has decided to pursue her passion of bringing mental health resources and services to the North. Currently, Cierra is pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Counselling Psychology with a specialization in Psychometric Testing and concentration in Crisis / Trauma Counselling.
Caution: Cierra discusses Suicide
Growing up in Northwestern Ontario, mental health resources were scarce. At age six, I was diagnosed with a mental illness. I struggled with staying still, paying attention, and completing tasks. These impairments followed me from elementary school, to high school, and then to University. I attempted suicide for the first time in Grade 8. My relationship with my peers was volatile and consisted of hostility.
The stigma around mental illness and taking medication was incapacitating. I was physically assaulted and the subject of ridicule from both my peers and my principal for being ‘sick’. I started self-harming to cope with everyday life. I felt like I was failing at every single aspect of my life. Following the suicide attempt, I was waitlisted for counselling. In high school, my grades continued to plummet. I started missing more classes than I attended. Most days were spent in bed; I would wake up, sometimes eat, maybe shower, go back to bed and repeat. Leaving the house became an impossible task because of debilitating anxiety that consumed me. I attempted suicide again in Grades 9 and 11.
Only then did my team of doctors, nurse practitioners, school counsellor, and family advocate for my admission to an inpatient Youth Psychiatric ward for treatment. It took four years for me to gain access to the help I needed to begin recovery. I started to regain my zest for life and completely restructured my lifestyle. I no longer spent each day counting down the seconds until I could collapse back into my bed. I decided than I wanted to be the change in my community. By having access to the appropriate resources such as counselling and medication saved my life. I would make it my life mission to ensure that no child had to reach their breaking point before receiving the help they needed. I became a passionate, driven and an engaged student and community member. I finished Grades 11 and 12 with a 90 plus average and was accepted into Lakehead University.
I participated in mental health advocacy by sharing my story at the local schools. I shared it with the local newspapers and on the radio. I became the ambassador for Clara Hughes Big Ride and Bell Let’s Talk for my community. I became the ambassador for Ride Don’t Hide and continue to work towards destigmatizing medication, suicide, and mental illness. I am also an ambassador for Worth Living and feel my story and give people hope. Recovery is an ongoing process and I am actively participating in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy to this day. My mental illness will always be a part of me, but it no longer controls my life. I am now a post-secondary graduate and completed two undergraduate degrees in three years’ time. I have maintained being on the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Dean’s List and have achieved at the top 10-5% of psychology students in my university. I am thriving and have established a foundation of wellness. I am now healthy and prepared to be the change in my community.
I plan to practice inter-professional networking and connect with the schools, hospitals, and local organizations to provide the best care possible. By obtaining a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Yorkville University, it will allow me the best platform to achieve success and provide the quality care that my community needs and deserves.
Yorkville University has allowed me to return home and continue to nourish and sustain my community. I will gain the skills, insight, and knowledge I need to be an exemplary mental health counsellor. I have recently been hired on as an IBI Therapist and a Community Based Psychiatrics Right Adviser, which allow me to make change in my community.
Thank you for your time. I hope my story lightens your heart with hope. I have provided below a poem that I wrote in the middle of one of my “attacks”. It captures the debilitating and crippling experience of my mental illness. I didn’t think I would survive those moments, but here I am today not only thriving but realizing my life is worth living and so is yours… I’m glad you’re here <3 xo
Do you know who you are? Do you know why you’re here? Do you know how you got here?
There are few things worse than being unable to feel… Feeling like you’re completely and utterly alone is one of them. Isolated in your crumbling pain, a chaos of fuzzy emotions and unfathomable hurt.
A fist clenched around your gut, twisting and turning. A paralyzing fear that cripples you into a heaping mess of too lates and overambitious dreams. I was supposed to be successful.
Watching the lives of others flash by on a screen as the encoded messages tell me what I’m missing. The pictures of smiles and laughter, friends and drinks, husbands and children fill my newsfeed.
But where am I? I sit here looking at an empty reflection. Trapped behinds a flood of tears and hopeless attempts to be more than nothing. A desperate plea to amount to some worth that exceeds the dirt on the floor.
How did I get here? The worlds spinning a screaming mess of anxiety and pressure. The lids about to explode. And yet, there is stillness. A frozen impairment of functionality and loss of grip with reality. A dissociation of identity that splits me apart from the shreds of humanity I desperately attempt to hold.
Why am I here? What purpose does my existence have on the people around me. My fading in and out of lives while I dance around the relationships I could have had. Did I put myself here? How did I get here.
A broken repercussion of high expectations and too many sleepless nights of unachievable perfection. The body I have been given feels sick and weak, everything radiates pain. The muscles feel as if they are untethering from the bone, yet they cling to the fabrics of my being.
It hurts. It hurts to be alive. It hurts to be alone. It hurts to be with people. It hurts to feel. This invisible barrier that separates me from connectedness. Like an animal in a zoo, staring at the happy families, giggling children and infatuated lovers. Segregated away from society… Perhaps it is better this way.
A blessing in disguise meant to save me from myself. At least here maybe I serve a purpose. An example of what sickness looks like. A girl whose dreams amounted to no more than the empty hands she owns. What purpose is there to exist? What use is there to feel this much pain. To barely feel as if i’m living. A zombie who catatonically goes through the motions of existence. Wake up, eat, sleep, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
How many times does the broken record play, always skipping between a D flat and a C sharp. I feel too much, but I feel nothing at all.
So I sit here, alone. I have people around me, people who care but their worry and concerns flutter off my skin. The pit of my stomach churn and tears swell in my eyes. Why does it hurt. My acne ladden face filled with poison, a pity to look at really. Disgusting, a revolting circus act that is gawked at for the entertainment of the wicked. A dance for the devil, playing of flames licking the flats of my feet. It hurts.
It hurts to be mentally ill. It hurts to be alive.
Worth Living Ambassador Ashlee Johnson
Hi I’m Ashlee, the face behind ‘The Tattooed Mumma ( Instagram @thetattooedmumma). A first time mum and struggling with mental illness. I share my stories and inspiration on my page, my goal is to raise awareness for postnatal depression. It’s ok not to be ok.
Battling with the New Me
Today (4/07/17) marked one year since finally speaking up and admitting that I wasn’t ok….
You would have thought that I would be in a state of bliss and happiness with the arrival of my daughter a few weeks before. We had numerous visitors coming to congratulate us, bringing food and well wishes. That fake smile (that anyone with anxiety knows all too well) was plastered on my face and the usual response that I’m doing ok when people asked how I was, was being thrown around left right and center.
At first I thought it must have been hormones as well as adjusting to minimal sleep and this insane thing they call motherhood.
As the weeks went on, I found myself getting progressively worse. I started to feel dazed and I was losing memory of what I’d done that day. I would lose my temper over tiny things. I’d yell and scream, my mind would race and I would literally lose control of what I’d say and do. After a while my brain went into complete autopilot and my mental state just completely shut down. I dreaded having to see friends and family and the thought of their asking how I was left me in an absolute mess.
The anxiety eventually got worse and worse to the point where I couldn’t even put our daughter to bed because I’d be convinced that she wouldn’t go to sleep and that I’d be up all night. When it was my turn to do the bedtime routine, I would end up having huge panic attacks where I couldn’t breathe, I’d end up in tears and hyperventilating or yelling.
My breaking point was one year ago today; the thought of it makes me feel sick.
It was my turn to do the bedtime routine, and I had a pretty good day. I felt good in myself and I felt confident in putting the baby to bed. All was going well until my daughter didn’t go to sleep, she was wide-awake and panic just took over…. I started to panic, I don’t know why? I had done this numerous times before but I felt my body getting tenser and tenser and them BAM! I exploded… I screamed as loud as I could, so loud that it woke my sleeping fiancé, scared the shit out of our daughter and left me completely stunned and frazzled. It was one of those moments that as much as I wanted to stop myself I couldn’t, my fiancé came and took her from me and got her to sleep while I sat on my bathroom floor (basically in foetal position) absolutely in hysterics.
I didn’t sleep much that night, I felt truly horrible. I couldn’t work out how in such a short time I had gotten so bad. This little human who is my entire world had managed to completely break me. By this stage my fiancé was back at work so the next day it was just me and my daughter. We sat in the chair and she had a bottle and it finally hit me that I am in fact not ok. I booked into my Doctor and she was very quick to diagnose me with Post Natal Depression. We made a mental health plan and I was referred to a psychologist. After a few sessions with the psychologist, I still felt like I was struggling to pull myself out of the darkness. I would leave my appointments in a really bad headspace and struggling to snap out of it and get on with my day. So I was then referred onto a psychiatrist for a second opinion. It was then that I was also diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD as well as my postnatal depression. At first I was a little shocked and in denial as to how it didn’t get picked up when I was much younger? I was hesitant to go on medication because it seemed whatever they gave me for PND would not work with my ADHD or vice versa. Finally with the help of my GP, I was able to find a medication that was able to treat all my conditions, and I have been taking them since February this year and having a lot better time coping.
Late February I decided that I needed to find something that I could do to help me get my feelings out of my head and express myself a bit better so I launched a Instagram / blog page called ‘The Tattooed Mumma’ at first it was just for myself but I quickly gained followers and received emails from other mums in the same situation. I decided instead of just being my little outlet it can be a place for support, a place for stories, advice, inspiration and anything else that I find that may be beneficial at the time. Since launching, I have collaborated with numerous small businesses to promote awareness for mental health for mums. I have participated in fundraisers for numerous charities and also released a small line of merchandise to raise funds for mental health charities.
I still have bad days, but since being on my medication I have become a whole new person. I can think about things clearly, I am able to recognize triggers for my anxiety and remove myself from the situation before I get bad. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, but my now 1-year-old daughter makes sure I’m up and going. She is my motivation to share my story with as many people as I can so that more mums feel like they can speak up without any judgements and get the help they need or even just talk to someone.
My daughter has been a blessing in disguise for me. She has taught me that it is ok to not be ok, to embrace my mental illness and accept that it is part of who I am. A year on and it has been an absolute rollercoaster of ups and downs but I am now healthy and looking after myself and am truly happy
You can follow me on Instagram @thetattooedmumma
Worth Living Ambassador Daniella Malone
Hello! My name is Daniella, I’m 24 years young. I live with Borderline Personality Disorder, Social Anxiety, and Depression. I am very passionate about spreading awareness, fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness, and helping people share their stories and speak out. I know that if we all join together no-one will ever feel alone in this fight again.
How the Internet Affects the Growing Stigma
The internet can be a very dangerous place for those vulnerable and easily effected by offensive and hurtful comments. I like to use the internet to write about my story, spread awareness, and educate people who are not as well knowledgeable when it comes to stigma surrounding mental illness.
However, I often feel I am faced with heated debates, arguments, and nasty comments from people who are quite frankly ignorant and uneducated.
I frequently hear comments like “she’s so skinny she must be anorexic” ,” I’m so OCD” , “cute but psycho.” I don’t really understand when it was made okay to slander mental disorders this way. So many disorders are thrown around flippantly when describing day to day life, it’s wrong.
It breaks my heart the way mental illness is treated as such a minority and brushed aside as if it’s an unimportant issue. Society has done this to us and made it okay to brush aside important issues, and I personally take it as my job, my duty to enlighten and educate people that using these phrases as wrong!
So many people unknowingly use these phrases without thinking behind the meaning, thinking about the further growing stigma it adds to those of us with debilitating mental illnesses!
Mental health issues are serious. We need to join hands and come together to educate each other and fight the stigma! If someone takes the time to explain how hurtful these phrases are LISTEN don’t just brush it off because we have been brushed aside and treated as a minority for too long. Using these ” turn of phrases” is wrong, hurtful, and quite frankly making a mockery of our suffering. People need to be aware how wrong these phrases are.
More and more studies are proving that 1 in 4 people suffer with their mental health, yet the stigma and the way we are treated as a minority is wrong and it needs to stop! We need to make a stand and put an end to this! We will only beat this stigma together. United as one.
Worth Living Ambassador and Official DJ Scratchley Q
For this week’s countdown I asked Worth Living Ambassadors to list one song that leaves them feeling inspired/ that has inspired them. Here are 10 of those songs that they shared (not in any particular order) Enjoy! -Scratchley Q
Worth Living Countdown- Inspiration
Dream On- Aerosmith
Let It Be- The Beatles
I Lived- One Republic
You Gotta Be- Des’ree
Get Up Stand Up- Bob Marley
Paint It Black- Rolling Stones
Roll With It- Oasis
Beautiful Day- U2
Warrior- Demi Lovato
Rise Up- Andra Day
Worth Living Ambassador Jade Robledo
Penn State Psychology Student, Mental health advocate and Future Counselor/Mental Health Educator
Caution: this post is about Suicide
The New Plan
What do Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Amy Winehouse, and Chester Bennington have in common?
Sadly, they’re all celebrities who have died by suicide or had their death ruled as a possible suicide.
•Suicide is the 10th leading cause of the death in the US
•Men die by suicide 2.5x more often than woman
•On average, there are 121 suicides per day
-American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
Now, we all know that mental health isn’t treated as important as physical health. Until these death and until movies/shows like Cyberbullying and 13 Reasons Why came out, Suicide had been a hush subject. Something that no one really wants to talk about.
Well, that really needs to stop. We need to talk about it! We need a new plan! We can reduce the daily and yearly rates of suicide by eliminating the stigma of mental illness, suicide and going to therapy. Also getting educated in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or at least knowing how to approach someone who is or can be suicidal can seriously save lives.
Just being able to listen to someone when they are feeling this way can change so much. Just because someone is suicidal or having suicidal thoughts doesn’t mean they just need to be throw into a mental hospital, they could just need someone to talk to, someone to can. Then if they need it, it’ll be easier to suggest getting further help.
So, you may be thinking.. “I am not a mental health specialist or trained in MHFA… what can I do?”
Well, I have a great answer for you:
1. Get educated so you know when someone may be struggling or so you can identify warning signs. (Lucky for you, I have some info in this post! YAY)
2. Be loving, caring and supportive. Don’t lecture them, that’s the last thing they need. Just let them know that they are loved, cared about and their life matters. They really just need a better support system and there are better ways of bringing up getting the proper help with them and that comes with trust and comfort.
3. DO NOT tell them to “stop being negative,” or “Just be more happy or more positive” or that whatever they are upset about isn’t worth it or there are people out there who has it worst. DO NOT EVER SAY THAT. It’s just insulting to say that to someone who is thinking about hurting or killing themselves and it makes them feel worst then they already do makes them feel that they don’t even deserve someone that truly will talk to them about what’s wrong.
* And also it DOES NOT matter how much worse someone else has it, everything we feel, everything we see and hear is OUR own perspective and OUR OWN reality and that’s serious. You don’t know or can never know how badly someone is hurt because you ARE NOT them, you cannot feel their emotions or hear their thoughts. Everyone struggles, yes, some people may have it worst… but that doesn’t mean you can minimize someone else’s pain.
I know most of the things I’ve been saying in this post is get educated!
⇒Let’s say it one more time for the people in the back… GET EDUCATED! ⇐
My main philosophy for mental health education is ECCS: Education, Communication, Caring and Supporting. Four main things you can do need to do in talking to someone with a mental illness or talking to someone who is or can be suicidal. ECCS is very important in a one to one basis for making sure that person who is or can be suicidal gets better.
Now if this person IS suicidal and is trying to attempt or has a plan, follow MHFA’s AGLEE (5 step plan)
A ssess for risk of suicide or harm
L isten nonjudgmentally
G ive reassurance and information
E ncourage appropriate professional help
E ncourage self-help and other support strategies
– Mental Health First Aid
Getting Educated on Warning Signs
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( US ) : 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text line: Text HOME to 741741 (USA)
Below are suicide prevention, warning signs and ways to approach situations that may lead to suicide and are provided by the National Alliance of Mental Illness and American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (I take no credit in any of the information below or any information in the blockquotes; links are all provided):
Know The Warning Signs
•Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous
•Increased alcohol and drug use
•Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
•Dramatic mood swings
•Talking, writing or thinking about death
•Impulsive or reckless behavior
-National Alliance of Mental Illness
If a person talks about:
•Being a burden to others
•Experiencing unbearable pain
•Having no reason to live
Specific things to look out for include:
•Increased use of alcohol or drugs
•Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
•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
People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
•Loss of interest
-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Approaching the Situation
•Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills
•Calmly ask simple and direct questions, such as “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?” rather than, “Would you rather I call your psychiatrist, your therapist or your case manager?”
•Talk openly and honestly about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
•If there are multiple people, have one person speak at a time
•Ask what you can do to help
•Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice
•Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong
•If your loved one asks for something, provide it, as long as the request is safe and reasonable
•If you are nervous, try not to fidget or pace
•If your loved one is having hallucinations or delusions, be gentle and sympathetic, but do not get in an argument about whether the delusions or hallucinations are real
If you are concerned about suicide and don’t know what to do, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
-National Alliance on Mental Illness
Together, we can all make a difference.. even if it’s difference in one life… it matters. Mental Health education needs to start and we need to seriously address suicide prevention plans!
Also as a reminder.. You matter so much. Please remember that. If you or anyone you know is suicidal, please please get help. I can’t stress how much you matter.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text line: Text HOME to 741741 (USA)
You are amazing, you are loved, you are important,
With lots of love,
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