I’m Worried About My Friend’s Suicide Risk. How Can I Help?

A man sits by a mountainous beach

I don’t know who she was.

It was the early 2000s, the height of the AIM craze, when middle schoolers rushed home at the end of the day to log on and start chatting. These were the early days, where we could hardly distinguish an LOL from a G2G and emojis had yet to replace emoticons (I know, (☉_☉)!).

One day, I was chatting with my friend when I started panicking: She had seen an apparent suicide note on someone else’s AIM profile, and didn’t know what to do. All of 13 years old, we called our respective parents to help save the day. Our parents called the police. But this was the early days of social media, when it was next to impossible to figure out where someone was or how to reach out to them.

To this day, I still wonder if that person is alright.

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Why It’s Healthy To Lower Your High Expectations in College

A woman stands over a balcony with a graduation cap and gown on

A group of us were getting together for the first time since graduation, reminiscing about our earlier selves.

“We were all horrible in college,” my friend said recently over drinks. “We were so status-obsessed and trying to keep up with everyone else who was status-obsessed.”

Another friend, sipping his beer, put it more succinctly: “We were all so depressed in college.”

He meant this literally.

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Why Does Depression Make it Difficult to Function?

A stylish man leans his head against his hand with his eyes closed

Sometimes depression can sneak up on us, seeping into our lives without detection until it hits hard weeks, months, or even years later. Other times it shows up suddenly, like a heavy, wet blanket that has been thrown on top of us.

Either way, one of depression’s hallmark features is our loss of interest in seemingly everything, whether it’s a favorite pastime or the people closest to you — it can make getting out of bed at all nearly impossible. The world, which once seemed round, flattens out. We’re no longer having any fun and sometimes it’s downright hard to function.

The culprit? In the case of clinical depression, usually it’s a symptom referred to as anhedonia.

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What to Say to Someone When They’re Inconsolable

Silhouette of a man comforting a woman at sunset

We have all faced moments in our lives where we felt completely inconsolable. Maybe it was after a loss like the death of a loved one — or perhaps after a devastating breakup, job loss, or any other life-change that seemed out of our control and that we grieved deeply.

At times, though, there is no discernible cause: those of us who suffer from depression or anxiety know that sometimes our feelings overwhelm us so intensely that they become hard to shake — and it feels like nothing can console us in those moments.

But what if you are on the other end of such an experience, not suffering from these feelings yourself, but witnessing an inconsolable loved one?

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What Flaking on Plans Says About Your Mental Health

Woman watching tv on couch messily eating popcorn

I can’t lie — I love how good it feels to flake on plans I really didn’t want any part of in the first place. Sweet relief! (But I swear, I really don’t do this often.)

However, I’ll be the first to admit that my plan cancelling is usually the result of something that runs a little deeper than the desire to stay in my PJs and be lazy on the couch. In fact, flakiness — especially sudden-onset flakiness — can sometimes be an indicator of something going on with your mental health.

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3 Simple Ways to Bust Out of a Summer “Funk”

A plastic flamingo in the sand

It seems almost everyone talks about how depressed they feel during short, dark winter days, but very few people discuss feeling down during in the summer. Even though your friends may not talk about it as openly, plenty of people experience a funk in the warmer months as well. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression that strike in the summer.

For those who feel lonely or isolated, the summer can feel like a time when everyone else is having fun. It seems like everyone except you is hosting or being invited to pool parties and barbecues, using vacation time to travel to exotic destinations, or meeting new people to date.

Of course, this is rarely the case, just as it isn’t the case during the rest of the year. In the summer, though, social activities are much more visible, because they often occur outside and are blasted across social media. This can make people who are already anxious about their social lives feel left out and friendless.

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Attempting to Understand Suicide

Hands reaching out to each other with a sunset background

In light of the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and headlines that suicide rates have climbed in the past twenty years, suicide has become a topic that is widely covered in the media.

Many sociologists and epidemiologists attribute increased suicide rates at least partially to economic variables. Suicide rates often rise in times of economic uncertainty, like the most recent recession, since this makes people feel more scared and hopeless. The opioid crisis may also play a part. You can read more about these theories here.

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Speaking Openly About Suicide: A Talkspace Therapist Roundtable

Suicide hotline numbers

Since 1999, suicide rates in the US have increased by more than 25%, a harrowing statistic that points to a growing public health emergency. With the loss of two bright stars in a single week — iconic fashion designer Kate Spade, and celebrity chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain — to suicide, we wanted to bring together three Talkspace therapists to discuss and answer questions about one of the most taboo topics in Western Culture.

We remind you that there is no shame in asking for help and if you’re in crisis or know someone who is, don’t wait. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 –– call them: 1-800-273- TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

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4 Ways to Know if it’s Sadness or Depression

Woman sitting on ground with head in lap

It’s normal to feel a little down, stressed, or anxious every once in a while, as career and social pressures can fuel momentary bursts of sadness and make you feel a bit “off.” And while you can’t expect to feel your best every single day, if you are gripped by an unrelenting sense of hopelessness that prevents you from enjoying the experiences you love the most, it may be time to take a closer look at your feelings.

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Is Drinking Making You Depressed?

Woman on chair holding bottle of wine to her temple.

Drinking has a firm foot in our culture, and it seems to fit any occasion.

Having a birthday and turning 21, 30, or 50? Have a round on the house!

Getting married? Crank up Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That)” and throw one (or five) back while grooving on the dance floor into the wee hours of the morning.

Going on a first date? Why not meet at the bar for a classy cocktail or glass of wine?

Had a hard day at work, bad week, or even a rough month when you just can’t seem to shake that sinking feeling? Nothing a drink to lift the spirits can’t solve…

And that’s where we begin to run into trouble — self-medicating our depression through alcohol consumption.

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