How to Support Mental Health in Your Home
It’s easy to tell when your loved ones aren’t physically healthy, but it’s not always so clear when it comes to mental health. You have the power to make your home a place where mental health can thrive — sometimes all it takes is your voice.
Have Difficult Conversations
The easiest thing you can do to support mental health in your home is to simply talk about it. "Isolation is poison to a suicidal individual," says Laurie Gerdt, program manager for Community's Zero Suicide Initiative. "People think they’re the only ones feeling this way, so compassionate conversations and connectedness are key."
Acknowledge the courage it takes to reach out for help, and know how to be present:
Show that you’re listening. Show that you care. Show that you hear what they’re saying, and that you’ll take their situation seriously. Most importantly, assure them that you’ll be there every step of the way. No one should be alone in their struggle with suicidal thoughts — and in your home, they never will be.
Suicide-Proof Your House
"Suicide-proofing extends the amount of time that someone would think before they act," Gerdt explains. Two ways to extend that time are to 1) get rid of risky items, and 2) make preventive resources easier to find.
- Risky items: Think about what’s easy to access in your home that shouldn’t be, like guns and prescription medicines. Guns are used in nearly half of all teen suicide deaths, and teens who attempt suicide use medications more than any other method. You can check for pill take-back locations near you, or visit a Community drop-off event.
- Preventive resources: Make information that could prevent suicide easy to find in your house. It’s easy to post encouraging notes on bathroom mirrors or bedroom doors. You can also order a free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline magnet for your fridge.
In 2016, Community Health Network and WTHR partnered to launch Have Hope. This public service effort raised awareness about suicide and helped more Hoosiers get the help they need.
HaveHope.com has resources for you or your loved ones who may have suicidal thoughts. You can learn about warning signs, risk factors and other facts about suicide in Indiana. If you or your loved ones are in a crisis, you can:
- Text “IN” to 741741
- Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
"Everyone can prevent suicide," says Gerdt. "You never know where you’ll change the trajectory of someone's life." Learn more about how Community is supporting behavioral health in Central Indiana.