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Online Tools

Talk About Depression is developing an online assessment that offers step-by-step support for helping navigate someone going through a crisis. Influenced by protocols used by 9-1-1 operators and input from top medical professionals, we also help with next steps such as talking points for friends and family and online treatment options.

Crisis Help Tool

Our prototype is a completely confidential way to support either yourself or someone that you’re concerned about. Giving you critical information in minutes allows you to make an educated decision about helping in a crisis. See example video below.

Signs Something Might be Wrong

While mental illness can manifest in a variety of ways, there are common items that signal to you that something may be going on. Below are some characteristics to watch for.

  • Withdrawing from social activities or appearing down for more than 2 weeks. This could mean crying regularly, feeling tired all the time or not wanting to hang out anymore. 
  • Self-harming actions such as cutting or burning. Some people may begin to wear long sleeves or pants to cover up signs that they are doing this.
  • Threatening to kill his- or herself or making plans to do so. Although you may not know whether your friend is serious or not, it’s better to be safe and take things seriously.
  • Extreme out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors. Behaviors that can endanger his- or her own life as well as others, such as speeding excessively and not obeying traffic laws, might be a sign that something is wrong.
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, including intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities like hanging out with friends.
  • Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight. Pay attention if your friend isn’t eating much at lunch or going to the bathroom right after meals.
  • Severe mood swings. Life is stressful, but if there seem to be outbursts that go beyond how other people would often act, it might mean something more serious.
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol. Coming to class hungover, showing up to sporting events intoxicated or wanting to bring drugs or alcohol into daily activities is not normal.
  • Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits. Your friend might be sleeping much more or much less or get agitated more frequently.
  • Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still.

Source: NAMI

How to Help

There isn’t a one-way-is-the-right-way approach to mental health challenges. There is, however, a lot of questions. Should you take it seriously? Is it OK to ask questions? Are they alone right now, and should you go to them? Finding space to help your friend means taking care of yourself, too.

Find Connections

The symptoms of mental illness are different for everyone, yet one thing is consistent: With social and professional support, people demonstrate significant or full recovery. There is nothing wrong with talking about your concerns with your friends, and it’s OK to ask questions.

Talk About Depression Stories

Share Your Concern

Let your friend know what you’ve noticed, such as sleeping more or avoiding social activities. Focus your conversation on “I” instead of “you” to let them know you are here to listen, and you are not judging them. It’s OK to say you are concerned to hear them talking or acting like this.

Help

Find Support

You don’t have to take this on by yourself, so ask for support from a friend or family member that you trust. Ask your friend if they mind that you are sharing their circumstances, as they may feel betrayed or concerned if they find out you’ve shared with others. Friends, spouses, therapists, coaches ; all of these are good resources.

Map

Stay the Course

Be sure to include your friend when planning a social event, or ask them to come with you for errands. Knowing that you enjoy them being around is comforting, and they’ll appreciate your effort. Check-in with a phone call or text a few times a week and be sure to ask them how they are doing.

What A Crisis Can Look Like

It can be any mix of overwhelming, confusing, or frustrating when you want to help your loved one. What you’re feeling is okay, and there are ways you can help. With a social network and treatment, things can start to brighten up. However, if you or someone you know needs helps now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.

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Your friend sends you a text and it catches you off guard. Their tone is different, and the text is a little dark, scary even. It seems like they are not OK, and you aren’t sure how to help. Do you go to them? Are they serious? Are some responses better than others? Like most of us, you start by searching online for help.

   CONFUSION

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Browsing around Google and a few sites, you realize there isn’t an efficient guide to help you understand this moment. It’s frightening for yourself and your friend. So many websites seek to provide help but wow, it’s so incredibly overwhelming! In a moment of emotional distress, it’s hard to sort through big blocks of text.

   UNDERSTANDING

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While you feel powerless, you start to realize that it’s common to feel this way. If you work on a plan with your friend, you see there are ways to support them successfully. Some people are ready for treatment, and others may need time to take the next step. What is most important is to remember that you aren’t alone, and we are here to support those in finding options to help.

   KNOWLEDGE

Support Our Launch

With 1 in 5 Americans experiencing mental illness and our country in a suicide crisis, improving access to care is essential. We’re raising money to help launch our online assessment, a vital tool to help families and those in crisis find help in a cloudy time. To donate and learn more, click below.

This information is not a substitute for professional help. If you know someone is in danger please dial 911 or Text 741741 or call the National Suicide Helpline at 1-800-273-8255.