Over the last several months, I have had access to information about the increased struggles many in our communities have been facing due to the pandemic and its ripple effects.
On far too many Monday mornings, Police Chief Ferguson has brought me tales of suicides over the weekend. It’s not uncommon for his eyes, or mine, to well with tears as he tells me about the person.
My heart grieves over any human who finds themselves in such a dark place as to make that choice, and for those impacted by their decision. It is partly that sense of grief that makes me want to do anything I can to offer hope and help to those dealing with mental difficulties or addictions.
If any of us can play a role in lightening the burdens of someone struggling with these challenges, surely it will be among our life’s most important accomplishments. Before getting into a list of possible helps, I want to be clear that through close encounters — too many and too personal to detail here — I feel I can stand as a witness to the existence of help and hope for those carrying these heavy burdens.
Where and how does one find such hope and help? I’m certainly not an expert, and the answers are probably as varied as the individuals and families impacted, but here are some ideas, offered with a desire that, if nothing else, they may spark your own better ideas.
Take advantage of the resources available to you. This can be everything from a chat with a sibling or friend to professional treatment. Precisely because of the pandemic and its impacts, a new free program has been launched, called the Utah Strong Recovery Project, funded through a FEMA grant.
Call or text 385-386-2289 to speak with a counselor (or 1-800-273-8255 after hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org, providing just your first name and phone number to get started.
The program promises to offer free crisis counseling, education on coping strategies, and referrals if more help is needed. Other resources can be identified through the 211 phone number or app. And check out EverydayStrong.org, an acclaimed program to help combat depression and anxiety. Both 211 and EverydayStrong come from our partners at the United Way.
Get in touch with the divine. The well-regarded 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous rests on a foundation of acknowledging a higher power. Whatever your faith background, tapping into a power higher than your own seems to be key for many who are recovering from addiction and other ailments. It’s my personal experience that prayer works. If you haven’t tried it for a while, perhaps it’s a tool you could dust off.
For more information and resources, please read my full article in the Daily Herald here.