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Mental wellness expert discusses how to take care of your mental health

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Mental wellness expert discusses how to take care of your mental health during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The warning signs, prevention methods and where to go for help



MEREDITH: WELCOME BACK TO SUN VISE. SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH AND A MENTAL EXPERT IS JOINING US. DOCTOR, LET’S GET INTO IT. IT’S SUCH AN IMPORTANT MONTH. HOW DO WE HOPE THOSE STRUGGLING? DR. ALI: IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO INVEST IN AND MAKE AWARENESS OF MENTAL WELLNESS OVERALL. IF WE INVEST IN OUR MENTAL WELLNESS ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL AND INTERPERSONAL LEVEL, HELPING OUR LOVED ONES BUT COMMUNITY MEMBERS, THEN WE CREATE A SUBSTANTIAL BUFFER THAT WE CAN PREVENT SUICIDE ALTOGETHER. MEREDITH: TAKE US THROUGH SOME OF THE WARNING SIGNS A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND THINK THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON AND WE’RE NOT SURE AND WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS AND HOW DO WE HELP? DR. ALI: EMOTIONAL INSTABILITY, MOOD CHANGES, PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR LIKE EATING OR SLEEPING OR WORKING OUT. ALSO, IF THEY’RE STARTING TO MENTION THINGS THAT SOUND CONCERNING LIKE TALKING ABOUT DEATH BUT ALSO EXPRESSING THAT THEY’RE IN IMMENSE PAIN, UNDER STRESS FOR A LONG TIME, NOT FEELING — FEELING HELPLESSNESS AND SHAME AND GUILT. WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW, TOO IS THE WARNING SIGNS MAY NOT SAY SOMEONE IS EXPERIENCING SUICIDAL SHOTS THOUGHTS BUT SIGNAL A MENTAL HEALTH CONCERN AND IN TERMS OF INTERVENTION WE NEED TO TAKE IN THOSE SIGNS EARLIER THAN LATER. MEREDITH: SUICIDE WAS THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR CHILDREN 10-14 AND ADULTS 25-34. WHY DO YOU THINK THESE GROUPS? DR. A.LI: IT IS ACROSS THE LIFESPAN BUT THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE FOR THESE AGE GROUPS IS SCARY AND CONCERNING. I WANT TO FOCUS ON THE YOUTH BECAUSE LOTS OF TIMES WE THINK OF SUICIDE PREVENTION AND THINK OF ADULTS BUT IT’S AN INNOCENT MIND WE THINK DOESN’T AFFECT CHILDREN BUT THE TRUTH IS IT DOES. THERE’S A LOT OF FACTORS IN THERE BUT SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL DISTANCING, CREATING THAT LONELINESS AND ISOLATION COMPARISON AND COMPETITION. THERE’S A LOT OF DIFFERENT REASONS WHY AND IT’S DIFFERENT FROM PERSON TO PERSON. MEREDITH: WHAT ABOUT PARENT INVOLVEMENT WITH THAT BECAUSE WHEN YOU HEAR ABOUT KIDS THIS YOUNG, IT REALLY IS CONCERNING AND THERE’S SO MANY DIFFERENT ASPECTS THAT GO INTO THAT. TAKE US THROUGH WHAT THE PARENTS CAN DO IF THEIR KIDS COME HOME AND KNOW SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT AFTER SCHOOL OR SPORTS OR WHATEVER IT MAY BE. DR. ALI: PARENTS SHOULD TAKE MENTAL HEALTH SERIOUSLY ON A PERSONAL LEVEL AND THEN IT’S NOT JUST APPLYING IT TO YOUR CHILD BECAUSE YOU LOVE AND CARE YOUR CHILD BUT APPLY IT FOR YOURSELF AND MODEL THOSE BEHAVIORS AND MODEL AFTER A PARENT WHO TALKS TO A THERAPIST AND OWN MEDICATION AND PRACTICES OF SELF-CARE AND THEY’RE INSTILLING THOSE BEHAVIORS BUT CREATES A NICE EASY PATH IF A STUDENT OR CHILD IN THIS CASE IS COMING TO THEIR PARENT AND WANTING TO TALK TO A PARENT ABOUT THESE CONCERNS OF HELPLESSNESS AND HOPELESSNESS, THEY KNOW IT’S OK. MEREDITH: YOU HAVE CREATED A OPEN DIALOGUE AND YOU HAVE THAT CONVERSATION GOING AND YOU KNOW IT CAN BE DISCUSSED IN YOUR HOME. DR. ALI: MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA IS SO RAMPANT. MEREDITH: YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS LONELINESS EPIDEMIC, IS IT SOMETHING YOU’RE SEEING MORE AND MORE ESPECIALLY PAN DAM HE CAN, POST PANDEMIC THAT SORT OF THING? DR. ALI: THE LONELINESS PANDEMIC WAS NOTED NATIONWIDE BEFORE THE PANDEMIC. FROM A PERSONAL REALM, WHETHER MY PERSONAL LIFE OR WORKING WITH CLIENTS PROFESSIONALLY, I DON’T KNOW ANYONE WHO HASN’T FELT A LITTLE BIT LONELY THROUGHOUT THAT TIME. WE’RE COMING ON A DIFFERENT END OF THAT SO I’M HOPEFUL OF US CREATING CONNECTION IN ALL SORTS OF WAYS AND RECOGNIZING HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THAT. MEREDITH: ARE THERE WAYS PEOPLE CAN DO THEIR BEST, SEEK HELP OR SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY OR PROFESSIONAL HELP BUT LET ME GROUP AND PULL YOURSELF OUT OF THAT LONELINESS OR FEELING OF DESPAIR. DR. ALI: IT’S IMPORTANT TO TAKE EMOTIONS SERIOUSLY. AS A SOCIETY WE SCOFF OFF EMOTIONS AND DON’T PAY THEM ANY MIND BUT IT’S NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM AND INVESTING IN WELLNESS AND SELF CARE THAT CAUSES THOSE PROBLEMS TO EXACERBATE AND IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE. MEREDITH: WE’RE ALMOST RUNNING OUT OF TIME, YOU DO HAVE A CRISIS HOTLINE. FILL IN THE DETAILS ABOUT THAT AND WHAT’S THE CONTACT IF SOMEONE IS WATCHING TODAY AND ARE LIKE I NEED HELP, WHERE CAN I GO AND REACH OUT TO. DR. ALI: THE NATIONAL CRISIS HOTLINE IS IMPORTANT, IT’S EASY TO CALL, IT’S 988, REALLY SIMPLE THROUGHOUT FLORIDA, IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW. THEY ALSO HAVE A CHAT LINE AS WELL AND THERE’S THAT OPTION IF SOMEONE IS NOT FEELING COMFORTABLE. 988 IS AN IMPORTANT NUMBER TO SHARE AND USE IF WE NEED IT, TO

Mental wellness expert discusses how to take care of your mental health during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The warning signs, prevention methods and where to go for help

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