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The Best Mental Health Resources for Preventing Suicide According to Nurses

So many mental health resources - How do I know which one to choose?

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Suicide prevention deserves our attention every day of the year. Whether you are a nurse looking for help to share with patients, family, friends, colleagues, or for personal use, there are many reliable and evidence-based resources to provide the help that is needed.

The Best Mental Health Resources for Preventing Suicide According to Nurses
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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month may be over, but mental health remains an issue that demands our constant attention and care. Thankfully, there are resources in place that work around the clock to alleviate the United States’ suicide crisis at any time of day, in any month. But with all the options for individuals suffering from mental illness, it can be difficult for patients -- and nurses -- to decipher the choices in front of them and pinpoint the type of help they need. As a nurse who has worked in federally qualified health centers, I understand the challenge of identifying resources that are both evidence-based, free, and accessible to the public.

I have called on Jonas Nursing and Veteran Healthcare Scholars, doctoral nursing graduates and candidates, to share their go-to resources. Whether you are a nurse looking for help to share with patients, family, friends, colleagues, or for use yourself, here are our favorite online, mobile, and telephonic resources for your reference:

General Resources

For more than 80 years, this community-based nonprofit has been helping people living with mental illness and promoting overall health. The site includes useful resources like screening and decision making tools, in addition to webinars.

This is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The website breaks down step-by-step the process of finding and receiving help, making the intimidating task of tackling mental health achievable.

The Zero Suicide framework is defined by a systemwide, organizational commitment to safer suicide care in health and behavioral health care systems. This is an in-depth resource for health professionals in identifying and treating suicidal thoughts in others.

This center offers up helpful research on mental health and suicide prevention, including vital coping strategies to help visitors to the website. The CDC hopes to build awareness of suicide and encourage a commitment to social change. It also addresses the issue of mental health within its CDC Center for Healthy Aging.

This website allows people suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts to research treatment using their zip code to find the most immediate and convenient help available. By making it easier to locate and reach treatment, this website eliminates the logistical obstacle between mental illness and recovery.

With a rich array of information to help address mental health, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress, this website provides a valuable resource to Women of all ages and stages in their lives.

This website provides a wealth of information on mental health symptoms, conditions, and treatment options geared toward patients, their families, and their healthcare providers. Notably, this resource is available in both Spanish and English.

Helpful Hotlines

  • Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Helping for treatment referral and information 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Disaster Distress Helping 1-800-985-5990

Resources for Adolescents and Children

One in five adolescents has experienced a serious mental health disorder, such as depression and/or anxiety disorders. This site provides the friends and family of struggling teens with tips on identifying early warning signs and ways in which to help them seek treatment methods.

NIH hosts the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens and reports 70,200 people died from a drug overdose. The organization provides resources for teens, teachers and parents, including videos, games, and infographics to help combat overdose, both intentional and accidental.

Contains guidelines and resources to help health care providers working with adolescent and young adults.

This website seeks to help children who suffer from traumatic stress who have been exposed to one or more traumas. It offers information on types of trauma, symptoms, and treatments.

Sesame Street developed this program of engaging stores, which are on a free, bilingual (English and Spanish) website, where families can find information and multimedia resources on the topics of military deployments, multiple deployments, homecomings, relocations, injuries, and grief.

Resources for Veterans

This is a national nonprofit providing critical resources to Americans so they can effectively engage with and support military service members, Veterans and their families across our nation. The organization’s online education courses are free to all people who work with, live with or care for this population.

This resource helps support Veterans in crisis by matching them up with the resources they need. It also advises family and friends on identifying red flags in a veteran’s social media posts, conversations, and behavior.

This hotline is open to veterans or loved ones of a veteran 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat

The VA provides a multitude of avenues to receive help for mental illness and suicide prevention, connect with counselors, medical professionals, and other veterans who are experiencing similar struggles. This site also offers mobile resources, including Caring4WomenVeterans, Mindfulness Coach, and CBT-I Coach (for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

Suicide prevention deserves our attention every day of the year. These resources are invaluable to nurses and patients alike in educating ourselves on the intricacies of mental illness and options in front of us moving forward. I hope this list is helpful to you, your patients, friends and family members.

Wanda Montalvo, PhD, RN is Executive Director of Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare at Columbia University. She is a recognized national executive nurse leader in addressing health disparities in primary care by specifically working with federally qualified health centers, professional trade associations, public health and federal agencies. Over the years, Dr. Montalvo has served on several federal advisory committees for the CDC, NIH and HRSA. Dr. Montalvo is a frequent speaker and has several peer-reviewed publications. She believes nurses should leverage the use of social media to engage with and advocate for healthcare policy. One of her favorite quotes is by Anita Roddick “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

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