Mental Health Information and Resources
Individuals often view mental health and physical health as vastly different topics. However, experts contend that individuals should treat their mental health similarly to their physical health since the two are often interrelated. Although some may believe they are unlikely to encounter an individual with a mental illness, research shows that almost everyone will come in close contact with someone who is dealing with a mental illness.
Since research shows that most people, at some point, are going to interact with someone who has a mental illness, it is important for everyone to understand the most beneficial actions to take when working with a person in a mental health crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), there are five actions to remember when talking to an individual who is dealing with a mental health issue:
Action 1: APPROACH
The first task is to approach the person, look for any crises, and assist the person in dealing with them. It is best to approach the person about your concerns, find a suitable time and space where you both feel comfortable, and respect the person’s privacy and confidentiality. That said, you should say something to them if they do not initiate a conversation with you about how they are feeling. In a situation involving a person with a mental health problem, the possible crises include potential self-harm, extreme distress, and asocial or antisocial behaviors.
Action 2: LISTEN
After assessing the situation, it is best to listen non-judgmentally. When listening, it is important to set aside any judgments made about the person or their situation and to avoid expressing those judgments. Most people who are experiencing distressing emotions and thoughts want to be listened to empathetically before being offered options and resources that may help them. When listening non-judgmentally, it is best to adopt certain attitudes and use verbal and non-verbal listening skills that allow the listener to understand what is being said and allow person to feel they can talk freely about their problems without being judged.
Action 3: GIVE
After listening, it is time to give support and information. The support to offer at this time includes emotional support, such as empathizing with how they feel and giving them the hope of recovery. This is also the time to offer practical help with tasks that may seem overwhelming to them at the moment and, if possible, offer information about mental health services and supports.
Action 4: ENCOURAGE
After assessing, listening, and giving information, it is best to encourage the person to get appropriate professional help. Since a person with mental health problems will generally have a better recovery with appropriate professional help, it is suggested to give them information regarding how and where to reach out for support. Support includes medication, counseling, therapy, family support, and assistance with vocational and educational goals.
Action 5: ENCOURAGE
Encouragement is so important that the experts list it twice! Not only should individuals with mental health challenges be encouraged to seek professional help, but they should also be encouraged to utilize personal support systems. Whether it be family, friends, or others who have experienced mental health issues, having a system of trusted supports can make a positive impact during difficult times.
Daymark 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (866) 275-9552 - Daymark’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline seeks to provide a comprehensive crisis intervention in the least restrictive environment with a team perspective to meet any individual consumer’s needs. The service operates year-round, seven days per week, twenty-four hours per day. The program is staffed with licensed therapists and qualified professionals to serve anyone within the community experiencing a crisis related to mental health, substance misuse, or developmental disability concerns.
Daymark Recovery Services: In addition to their crisis hotline listed above, Daymark Recovery Services provides an array of outpatient and psychiatric services for the treatment of mental illnesses, substance use disorders, or developmental disabilities. Services are tailored to individual needs and delivered using evidence-based approaches to increase effectiveness.
Vaya Health: 1-800-849-6127 - Anyone living in western North Carolina can call Vaya’s toll-free, 24/7 Access to Care Line. Your call is confidential. You will speak with a trained professional who can provide immediate crisis intervention by telephone and arrange a face-to-face assessment, based on need, for Vaya Health members. For individuals who are hearing-impaired, dial 711 to reach NC Relay.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare: Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s behavioral health program is designed to meet the needs of adults, children and families experiencing a variety of problematic behaviors, thoughts and life patterns. They work to improve emotional stability and increase general functioning, as well as help clients identify, develop and increase the use of effective coping skills by emphasizing the existing strengths of the individual or family system.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255 - The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a toll-free hotline in the US for people in distress who feel like they are at risk of harming themselves.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 - Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis. in the United States.
Hopeline: 1-877-235-4525 - HopeLine offers caring, non-judgmental listening, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention available over the phone or by text.
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 - The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that’s available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 – The Trevor Project offers a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBT+ youth.
Society for The Prevention of Teen Suicide: The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide aims to reduce the number of youth suicides and attempted suicides by encouraging public awareness through the development and promotion of educational training programs.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families.
NAMI Local and State Affiliates
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a United States-based advocacy group originally founded as a grassroots group by family members of people diagnosed with mental illness. NAMI identifies its mission as being "dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness". You can find links to the local and state NAMI affiliates below: