September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and whether you know someone directly affected by suicide or not, supporting mental health causes and awareness campaigns is the best way to prevent them from happening in your community.
To bring awareness and create conversation around National Suicide Prevention Month, iHeartRaves is donating 10% of all revenue from its Best Sellers Collection to To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) through September 30th. TWLOHA is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness on mental health by helping anyone in need find life saving help.
TWLOHA was founded with the idea that there is always a better life around the corner as a way of encouraging those suffering from mental health issues to connect to the help they need. The organization, founded by Jamie Tworkowski in 2006, was inspired by Tworkowski's own experience with helping a friend through a hard period of time. The phrase is rooted in the idea that Tworkowski wants everyone to believe that they can overcome their mental health trouble, and the organization hopes to de stigmatize mental health in order to raise awareness.
Mental health is something that everyone deals with, and I know that in my own community of ravers it's something that isn't often discussed enough. Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of poor mental health can help save a life, and in the rave community it's important to keep the PLUR vibes going even after the music stops.
Talk openly about mental health
The problem that many face with getting help for their mental health issues is that they often feel alone in their struggles or may not even know how to recognize their symptoms at all. Mental health issues—whether they be depression, anxiety or even something like ADHD—almost always have treatment plans that can address both the symptoms and their root causes to help those suffering live a better life.
The only problem is that those suffering need to learn when to recognize when there is an issue in the first place. Talking openly about mental health does more than just de stigmatize it by making others feel welcome to discuss their own hardships. Openly discussing mental health and the various ways that these symptoms manifest in our daily lives can educate people on how to recognize it in themselves. This is one of the greatest tools in spreading awareness, and it can even create a sense of community for yourself and others along the way.
Share mental health resources on social media
Sharing mental health resources on social media is one of the simplest ways to make a positive impact on the mental health of others. It's an effortless way to show that you care, and to provide others with what can be life saving help or access to resources. If someone in your circle is struggling but may not know where to reach out, it's also a great way to let someone know you support them without knowing that you're making an impact.
You can share info-graphics on mental heath awareness, suicide prevention tools and resources, or other information on how and where someone can go when they need help. If you yourself are willing and able, you can even post that your inbox is open to anyone struggling, just make sure to help give them information on where to get professional help or offer to help them alongside their journey if you yourself are not a qualified professional.
Many people that suffer from mental health issues suffer in silence, and many experience symptoms that they don't even realize might be symptoms. In ADHD, for example, many symptoms can go unnoticed or unattended to just because someone suffering from ADHD may not recognize that what they're experiencing is a symptom. When symptoms go unattended to, someone suffering may begin to feel lonely or isolated from the world which can lead to other mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Take time to learn about different mental health issues and learn how to recognize the symptoms in yourself and others. This will not only help to get more people get the right diagnosis, but it will help de-stigmatize symptoms as they appear in day to day life.
Make your voice heard in the voting booth
If you can, take the time to vote for candidates at the local and national level that advocate for mental health awareness and treatment. Look for candidates that explicitly advocate for expanding treatment programs to those suffering from mental health issues or addiction, or candidates that advocate for treating the root cause of things like homelessness or drug abuse rather than those that seek to criminalize it. Here is some more information about the role that mental health plays in our political landscape.
Bring it into the real world
Though sharing information on social media is helpful, you can make the most impact in de stigmatizing mental health by bringing your advocacy into the real world. Learn to talk openly about mental health issues with your friends, even if talking openly about it means making a joke about your own experiences with mental health issues.
When you're with your rave fam, talk openly about how you're there to talk if someone has a bad time at a festival or is feeling the stress of something back home while they're at the rave. These conversations can help make someone in your rave fam feel more comfortable both at the rave and once it's over.
One of the most important and life-saving things you can do to de-stigmatize mental health issues in the festival world is to carry things like Naloxone spray with you when you party. Some festivals or events have banned the drug outside of paramedic use, but never be afraid to reach out for help if you think someone near you is overdosing. Remember that addiction is a mental health issue, and don't be afraid to learn to recognize and to openly discuss the line between casual partying and addictive behavior among your rave fam—it could save a life.