September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and while I am thankful for those acknowledging this crisis, it also hits quite close to home for me. As three of my closest friends have attempted suicide and I have had to talk my one friend out of self-harm, this issue is more than just a topic in the paper. Suicide might be uncomfortable for some to talk about, including myself, but the more we are made aware of this subject, the better we can help those struggling during times of need. Here are some suggestions on how you can be there for your vinas who need your support.
LET THEM KNOW THEY ARE NOT ALONE
The main thing that I make sure all my vinas know is that I’m there for them: day or night. Whether they need to talk or need someone to walk home with them, it’s vital that they know they have a friend they can count on. Mental illness can sometimes make us believe we are all alone, so if you have a friend or family member who may be contemplating self-harm, let them know their emotions are being acknowledged and most importantly, noticed. If you can offer an ear to listen and shoulder to lean on, that makes a huge difference.
I constantly give my friends suggestions about the latest Netflix comedy special that can brighten up their mood or a cool activity they can do with others. If your vina seems to be a bit down, see if you can get her out of the house and into nature. The outdoors and sunshine are very beneficial! Vitamin D is essential for our mental well-being and the best way to get some is by enjoying a little sunshine. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick walk to get some ice cream or a short stroll through the park, your vina needs to get out of the house where her insecurities hide in the shadows. Some fresh air can go a long way.
In the midst of being a female, I think all of us females can agree sometimes our hormones get the best of us, and not giving enough back to ourselves, self-love and care need to be practiced. A little reflection while meditating can really help you get to the root of what is going on within. Maybe going out to a yoga class isn’t ideal for your vina at the moment, but in the age of the internet-you can pop a basic yoga video on your laptop and do it together in the comfort of your own home.
It is very important that you take your time with a vina. It may seem time consuming and repetitive, but your vina needs you now more than ever. A funny gif here, a good meme there, a well-placed trip to the movies, or an occasional walk … no matter how small it may seem to you, it could mean the world to your vina.
Remember: There are many resources available to provide support to those affected by suicide. If someone you know needs help, suggest these resources immediately:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text “Talk” to 741741.
- Crisis Text Line — Text START to 741741
- TREVOR Project — 866-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline — 877-565-8860
Of course, new vinas are always waiting to talk. Click here to start your friendship journey.