Your Health Is Everything - You're Not Alone

LGBT Health Fair & Discussion Panel -- Sun, October 14, 1:00-5:00 pm @ West Chester University

 

In light of the sad news about fellow LGBT community members who have ended their lives, we're posting the following resources:

Suicide warning signs  Speaking of Suicide (podcast)  Resources on suicide prevention

It is important for everyone to know that taking one's life does not make it any better for those who knew them.  Individuals who are feeling depressed and suicidal sometimes think it will ease the burden --that others will not miss them -- that is absolutely NOT true.  Everyone is loved and should know that there is hope!  Life can be challenging, and in this day of social media, it seems like everyone's life "on line" is great.  We know that simply is not true. So, if you are feeling that you don't know where to turn and you are feeling hopeless, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


SELF-CARE FOR ACTIVISTS

The Most IMPORTANT way to care for yourself, is to:

Take Breaks

Activism is emotionally and physically exhausting. Give yourself permission to take breaks –you need to recharge!

Ways to take breaks:

Disengage from Social Media

  • The onslaught of negative messages online can feel overwhelming. Disconnecting regularly is a good way to take a break and come back to the issues another time.

Disengage entirely

  • You are such an important resource. Sometimes giving it your all means saying, “no.” This does not mean you don’t care about the issue – you just need some time to yourself.

Emotion check-in

  • Your mental health is very important. Check in with yourself to see how you are feeling – remember that your emotions are valid. Make sure to be kind to yourself. If your emotions are intense, this may be a sign to take a step back.

Physical health

  • Make sure you are tending to your physical needs. This means eating well, staying hydrated, exercising, limiting substance use, and treating illness.

Social Needs  

  • Tend to your relationships. Spend time with friends. Call your family members. Share time with like-minded individuals.

Self-care looks different for everyone. Take some time to create a personal plan of how to take care of yourself and tend to your needs.


HOW TO DEAL WITH HATE SPEECH

There are times you may read or hear something bigoted, offensive, deplorable, or hateful. There are many ways to respond to this. Sometimes, it is most powerful to make your voice heard by speaking out. You can do this by addressing the source, posting online, joining a group/cause, talking to a government official or law officer, or speaking with family/friends. There are other times when your safety may feel threatened by speaking out. This is an important time to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Never act violently – you may harm yourself or others. Instead, seek support from people you trust.

Remember that the work you do as an activist is courageous, empathic, and valuable. Be good to yourself while you be good to the world.


COPING

We realize that acts of massive violence are hard to understand and grasp. It is more widespread and you may feel afraid and traumatized just looking at the media coverage. The shootings may challenge your sense of safety, equilibrium, and hope for the future. For some, it will trigger memories and feelings that are difficult to process. These occurrences do elicit many different emotions, such as shock, sorrow, numbness, fear, and anger. You may have trouble sleeping, concentrating, and continuing with your coursework.

Here are some tips on managing your emotions and recovering your sense of balance:

  • Talk about it and ask for support from family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues.
  • Be sensitive to your colleague’s feelings and reactions along with your own emotions.
  • Turn off the social media. Give your brain a chance to recuperate and decrease your stress.
  • Take care of yourself, exercise, eat normally and try to sleep.
  • Use the LiveSafe app to report any unusual activity.
  • If you feel unsafe, be around friends, have someone walk with you across campus and connect with others. Usually these tips are helpful during the crisis.
  • For more information on how to cope and deepen your resilience, the following are good resources:

 

SOURCE: West Chester University Counseling and Psychological Services