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Health

100,000 people called 988 during its first week, a historic moment in suicide prevention

“The launch of 988 is a historic moment for suicide prevention and crisis care in this country.”

100,000 people called 988 during its first week, a historic moment in suicide prevention
Photo by yang miao on Unsplash

Help is available 24/7.

It used to be called getting your head shrunk. And it was for the self-obsessed or the folk who were a little bit “off.” The crazy people, right? Not for you, me or any of our co-workers or friends. Hush. Don’t talk about it.Everything’s fine

But as all of us who’ve lived through these last few years know, mental health challenges can happen to any of us. If we’ve learned anything, it’s the realization that some days (weeks, months…) are better than others—and that it’s OK to not be OK.



The days of sweeping mental health issues under the rug are gone—as they should be. Talking about the challenges is exactly what we need to do. Ironic that it took a pandemic to throw the door to the discussion around mental health wide open, helping us to see it as a necessary and normal part of taking care of ourselves.



The CDC provides a helpful list of facts for people about suicide and prevention.

cdc.gov

America is facing an unprecedented crisis in mental health, with suicide rates higher than any other wealthy nation. The CDC ranks suicide in the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. for people ages 10–64, and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34.

In 2020, 45,979 Americans died from suicide—that’s one death every 11 minutes. That figure—shocking enough as it is—hides the broader picture: that an estimated 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt and 1.2 million made an attempt. Those are difficult numbers to ignore.

There are a glimmers of hope, however, and among public health experts by far the most exciting is the rollout of the new three-digit Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

As of July 16, anyone experiencing emotional distress, a substance use crisis or having thoughts of suicide can dial or text 988 to be immediately connected to a trained suicide prevention counselor for support, understanding and connection to local resources—24/7, 365 days a year. This goes for concerned friends or family members, as well.

Awareness ribbon for the 988 lifeline.

988LifeLine.org

The lifeline routes an incoming call to one of around 200 crisis centers, matching the caller’s area code to their closest available center—to provide the most accurate recommendations to resources in a caller’s local area. Calls are confidential and a translation service can provide help in 250 languages. There are also accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing, via a preferred telecommunications relay service or by dialing 711 then 988.

The lifeline isn’t new—it’s been around since 2005 (as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)—but its accessibility has been hindered by a difficult-to-remember 1-800 number and a less-than-snappy name. Now, the name has been shortened and the long-winded number is out. All people need to know is to dial or text 988. In a crisis, this simple change is monumental and could literally mean the difference between life and death.

“The launch of 988 is a historic moment for suicide prevention and crisis care in this country,” says Shari Sinwelski, vice president of crisis care for the Los Angeles-based Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, one of the more than 200 privately owned and operated organizations in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and the first ever suicide prevention center to open in the U.S.

“The first day of the 988 launch, we received twice the total volume of contacts (calls, texts and chats) than normal,” Sinwelski told Upworthy.

Nationally, the 988 lifeline received 96,000 calls, texts and chats during the transition week (July 14–20). That’s a 45% increase in volume from the previous week, according to Sinwelski. And it’s a 66% increase in volume compared to the same week in 2021.

Sinwelski sees 988 as just the start of improving the way people access and receive crisis care in the U.S. “Not only do people in crisis now have an easier way to access services, but crisis centers are starting to receive the resources needed to fund these crucial services,” she says. “The hope is that in three to five years, everyone in mental health crisis will have someone to call, someone to come to and somewhere to go.”

While the most recent CDC figures for suicide rates among the general population showed a 5% decline in 2020 compared to the previous two years, tragically the suicide and suicide attempt rates have increased among children, teens and young adults.

“Students are facing unprecedented pressures and circumstances—school shootings, the pandemic and the effects of social media like cyberbullying and dangerous social challenges, in addition to the everyday pressures of school and family,” said Sinwelski. “Nationwide, 60% of teens and young people with depression cannot access care. We have to do better and do more to support our youth.”

The COVID-19 pandemic made mental health challenges so much worse, especially during the shutdown period and particularly among people with limited access to health services, communities of color and essential workers. During this time, “most people experienced anxiety, depression and symptoms of mental health challenges,” according to Sinwelski. “We each know someone affected in some way.”

Mental health challenges are not exclusive to a particular group of people born with a disorder or an addiction gene. Just look at who we’ve lost over the last several years: well-loved actors and comedians, a celebrity chef, fashion designers, rock stars, sports personalities, successful business executives … and more likely than not, a student at your kid’s school, a member of your book club, a fellow mom, dad, neighbor or respected veteran, perhaps even one of your relatives.

“We want people to know that there is help, they are not alone. To call 988 if they are in a mental health crisis, have suicidal thoughts, feel depressed and need help,” says Sinwelski. “988 is the first step in creating a fully resourced mental health crisis continuum in our country when so many Americans desperately need it.”

The digits may have changed but the message remains the same: Help is available. And there’s now an accessible, unforgettable number to call. A number that should become as familiar to Americans as 911 (and in a mental health crisis is arguably the better number to call). If you suffer from suicidal or desperate thoughts, go ahead and write 988 in lipstick on your bathroom mirror to remind you that help and hope are waiting to hear from you. Add it to your contacts list, put it in the back of your smartphone case or pin it on your fridge.

In the current climate of more awareness and understanding of mental health, healing, hope and help are happening every day, and every positive step forward in crisis intervention can literally save lives. When we’re all in it together, it’s not such a lonely place.


If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or require mental health support, call or text 988 to talk to a trained counselor, or visit 988lifeline.org to connect with a counselor and chat in real time.

A woman is shocked to learn that her name means something totally different in Australia.

Devyn Hales, 22, from California, recently moved to Sydney, Australia, on a one-year working visa and quickly learned that her name wouldn’t work Down Under. It all started when a group of men made fun of her on St. Patrick’s Day.

After she introduced herself as Devyn, the men laughed at her. "They burst out laughing, and when I asked them why, they told me devon is processed lunch meat,” she told The Daily Mail. It's similar to baloney, so I introduce myself as Dev now,” she said in a viral TikTok video with over 1.7 million views.

For those who have never been to Australia, Devon is a processed meat product usually cut into slices and served on sandwiches. It is usually made up of pork, basic spices and a binder. Devon is affordable because people buy it in bulk and it’s often fed to children. Australians also enjoy eating it fried, like spam. It is also known by other names such as fritz, circle meat, Berlina and polony, depending on where one lives on the continent. It's like in America, where people refer to cola as pop, soda, or Coke, depending on where they live in the country.


So, one can easily see why a young woman wouldn’t want to refer to herself as a processed meat product that can be likened to boloney or spam. "Wow, love that for us," another woman named Devyn wrote in the comments. “Tell me the name thing isn't true,” a woman called Devon added.

@dhalesss

#fypシ #australia #americaninaustralia #sydney #aussie

Besides changing her name, Dev shared some other differences between living in Australia and her home country.

“So everyone wears slides. I feel like I'm the only one with 'thongs'—flip-flops—that have the little thing in the middle of your big toe. Everyone wears slides,” she said. Everyone wears shorts that go down to your knees and that's a big thing here.”

Dev also noted that there are a lot of guys in Australia named Lachlan, Felix and Jack.

She was also thrown off by the sound of the plentiful magpies in Australia. According to Dev, they sound a lot like crying children with throat infections. “The birds threw me off,” she said before making an impression that many people in the comments thought was close to perfect. "The birds is so spot on," Jess wrote. "The birds, I will truly never get used to it," Marissa added.

One issue that many Americans face when moving to Australia is that it is more expensive than the United States. However, many Americans who move to Australia love the work-life balance. Brooke Laven, a brand strategist in the fitness industry who moved there from the U.S., says that Aussies have the “perfect work-life balance” and that they are “hard-working” but “know where to draw the line.”

Despite the initial cultural shocks, Devyn is embracing her new life in Australia with a positive outlook. “The coffee is a lot better in Australia, too,” she added with a smile, inspiring others to see the bright side of cultural differences.

Health

Therapist shares 2 big reasons why energizing hobbies are the perfect happiness hack

There’s a big difference between “growth” hobbies and “rot” hobbies.

People enjoying energizing hobbies,

For those who feel like they could be happier but know they’re missing a key element, a therapist has shared her “hack” to happiness and it’s pretty simple: have an energizing hobby. The conversation about the happy hobby hack started on TikTok when marketing expert Harrison Swales noted that all his “successful” and “happy” friends have one thing in common: they enjoy energizing hobbies.

He added that instead of binging on Netflix or drinking all weekend, they were either in sports leagues or enjoyed creating things like books or videos instead of passively watching what other people make on TikTok.

"I don't know if it's directly correlated to your career and success in other areas of your life," he said, "but it certainly seems like it." The video went viral, amassing over 560,000 views and inspired a follow-up from therapist Israa Nasir, who shared the psychological reasons why energizing hobbies are so beneficial.


"This is literally the way to hack your happiness," Nasir said in response to the video, "and there are two reasons why this creator is totally accurate."

@israajnasir

#stitch with @Harrison Swales where is the lie? #neurosciencetok #happinesstips #positivepsychology #emotionalresilience

1. Sense of flow

"A sense of flow is being so present and immersed in the present moment, being completely where you are,” she said, adding that it’s a state where "mind and body [are] in the same place, and you're engaging in something that gives you joy or creativity or movement, boosts dopamine in your mind.”

"When we're able to engage in that long period of time in a state of flow, we have a slow, sustained state of dopamine," Nasir continued. "So that we feel happier for longer, which is the opposite experience when we do things like scrolling mindlessly or watching Netflix or mindlessly drinking."

2. Hobbies de-center work and romantic relationships

"If you think about it, your whole life is structured around work … and your romantic relationship,” Nassir explained. “So that makes us very flat and one-dimensional. By adding hobbies, we add more depth and dimension into our life."

She then had a message for the TikTokkers out there who claim they don’t have enough time for a new hobby. "Open your phone app where it measures how much time you're spending on social media and you'll see that you're probably spending three to four hours a day on your phone," she said. "So even if you cut that in half, you can make time for energizing hobbies."

So now that we know that energizing hobbies are a key to happiness, what are they, specifically? In the comments section, Nasir clarified what she meant by energizing hobbies, saying that they are any activity that helps you lose yourself or enter a state of flow.

That could mean dancing, doing puzzles, playing a musical instrument, playing golf, crocheting, metal detecting at the park, surfing, writing, or any other creative activity. One commenter compared energizing hobbies with those that aren’t beneficial. “I have growth hobbies and rot hobbies. You can guess which ones are energizing vs draining,” Curtis Lane wrote.

Pop Culture

SNL sketch about George Washington's dream for America hailed an 'instant classic'

"People will be referencing it as one of the all time best SNL skits for years.”

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

Seriously, what were our forefathers thinking with our measuring system?

Ever stop to think how bizarre it is that the United States is one of the only countries to not use the metric system? Or how it uses the word “football” to describe a sport that, unlike fútbol, barely uses the feet at all?

What must our forefathers have been thinking as they were creating this brave new world?

Wonder no further. All this and more is explored in a recent Saturday Night Live sketch that folks are hailing as an “instant classic.”

The hilarious clip takes place during the American Revolution, where George Washington rallies his troops with an impassioned speech about his future hopes for their fledgling country…all the while poking fun at America’s nonsensical measurements and language rules.

Like seriously, liters and milliliters for soda, wine and alcohol but gallons, pints, and quarters for milk and paint? And no “u” after “o” in words like “armor” and “color” but “glamour” is okay?

The inherent humor in the scene is only amplified by comedian and host Nate Bargatze’s understated, deadpan delivery of Washington. Bargatze had quite a few hits during his hosting stint—including an opening monologue that acted as a mini comedy set—but this performance takes the cake.

Watch:

All in all, people have been applauding the sketch, noting that it harkened back to what “SNL” does best, having fun with the simple things.

Here’s what folks are saying:

“This skit is an instant classic. I think people will be referencing it as one of the all time best SNL skits for years.”

“Dear SNL, whoever wrote this sketch, PLEASE let them write many many MANY more!”

“Instantly one of my favorite SNL sketches of all time!!!”

“I’m not lying when I say I have watched this sketch about 10 times and laughed just as hard every time.”

“This may be my favorite sketch ever. This is absolutely brilliant.”


There’s more where that came from. Catch even more of Bargatze’s “SNL” episode here.


This article originally appeared on 10.30.23

Karlie Smith shows the meal she's bringing to the restaurant for her son.

A mom who admitted she packs her 2-year-old a meal when they go out to dinner has started an interesting debate on TikTok about restaurant etiquette and how it applies to young children.

The video posted by Ohio mom, Karlie Smith (unbreakablemomma on TikTok), has received nearly 600,000 views and has over 1,850 comments.

“Call me cheap, call me whatever, but if we’re going out to a restaurant, I’m packing my kid a meal," Smith, 21, said in her post. "I do this for many reasons. On Friday nights, my family and I get together, and tonight, we’re getting food out. My son is not getting food out.”


"For one, you want me to pay $6.99 for chicken tenders and fries that my son is going to throw half of it on the floor? You’re crazy," she continued. "Also, whatever I pack is probably going to be healthier than what the restaurant has anyways."

Smith’s example of a $6.99 kids’ meal is generous. In some parts of the country, a kids’ meal will set you back a lot more than that.

@unbreakablemomma

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

In the video, Smith demonstrated what she prepared for her son's meal that day: a sandwich filled with peanut butter and jelly, banana slices, cubed cheddar cheese and a chocolate-flavored Lara bar, all neatly organized in a plastic container.

Smith added that when they get to the restaurant, her child can begin to eat immediately without having to wait for a server to take their order and the kitchen to prepare the food.

"I can just hand him this and let him go to town,” she said. “Also, my child is not opinionated. He does not care what he eats; he just wants to eat."

The mother of two created quite a stir on TikTok after posting the video, with some people shaming her for bringing outside food into a restaurant. Many felt she wasn’t being fair by taking a seat without buying a meal, while others thought the restaurant was a good place for a child to learn patience. Others felt she wasn’t being fair by eating a restaurant-cooked meal while her child ate food from home.

"$6.99 is not a outrageous price. Eating out is definitely a experience a child deserves while everyone eats out," Suki commented.

"It is sooo important that they learn patience at that age. The same two-year-old who doesn’t learn that becomes a screaming five-year-old," Heth added.

"Someone once told me if u can't afford to let your kid get whatever meal they want at a restaurant, u shouldn’t be eating out," Kiana stated.

"You are paying for the seat at the table, not just the food. The price of the food to the restaurant is a tiny part of it," LiverpoolLilac wrote.

However, many people felt for Smith and thought she was doing the right thing for her child and finances.

"This is a great idea and I will be using it! Why would I buy a 2-year-old a meal they won’t eat? People need to stop harassing you," Katy Brown wrote.

"This is great cause restaurant food is rarely healthy for kids. Always chicken tenders and grilled cheese or corn dogs etc, and fries fries fries," Luna added.

"This is so smart, my kids always waste out food & always eat what I make so thanks for this tip!" Ceryna said.

After the video was bombarded with comments, Smith told Today.com that, as a former server, she always leaves a tip that compensates for the food brought from home and cleans up the table.

Smith put out a follow-up video where she had some fun with the negative comments she received on the video.

@unbreakablemomma

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

This article originally appeared on 5.26.23

Health

Relationship expert shares her advice on how to 'stop an argument in its tracks'

She has the perfect question to ask once your partner gets defensive.

Therapist Lauren Consul has one trick to stop arguments before they begin.

Arguments start to take off when one partner begins to get defensive. So, therapist Lauren Consul shared her relationship-saving tip to "stop an argument in its tracks" when one partner goes into self-preservation mode.

Lauren Consul is a couples and sex therapist who’s developed a following of nearly 160,000 people on TikTok and has received over 5.4 million likes. She is an infidelity expert and hosts retreats to help people "survive and thrive" after one partner has strayed.


"The next time you and your partner are talking, and your partner becomes defensive, I want you to do this: Pause, and say, 'I want to understand what happened there. What did you hear me say?'" Consul says in her TikTok video with over 42,000 views.

"This question is key because it does one of two things," she continued. "First, it can allow for clarification. A lot of times when we've become defensive, we've interpreted something our partner has said incorrectly. We've run it through a filter, we've told ourselves a story about it, it's triggered something... So we're not actually hearing what our partner says, and it allows for clarification."

@laurenconsul

#communicationtools #communicationtools #defensiveness #couplesargument #learnontiktok #cyclebreaker #couplestherapist #relationshiptherapist #marriagecounseling #mytherapistsays #therapytol #tiktoktherapist

"The second thing: If your partner did interpret what you said correctly, it gives you an opportunity to slow things down and understand what is happening for them and address the underlying issue, rather than get caught in a spiral of defensiveness," she continued.

Consul's advice for stopping arguments before they explode is helpful because it clears up any potential misunderstandings. The key is to remember the tactic in the heat of the moment to prevent things from getting out of hand.


This article originally appeared on 3.16.23