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What I Want You to Know as a Crisis Counselor for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

I’m a crisis counselor at a crisis center affiliated with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and I’m here to tell you that the Lifeline is for everyone, regardless of the presenting concerns.

In 2017, Logic, a rapper from Maryland, released a hit single featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. The song, titled 1-800-273-8255, was produced as part of the collaboration with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Since its release, the song has had an incredible impact by creating awareness of the Lifeline. The accompanying music video has amassed over 300 million views.

The video portrays the situations of two young teenage boys who struggle with revealing their sexual identity to others. These boys are consistently ostracized and rejected by their peers and their family. The stress and rejection become so heavy that one of the boys prepares to die by suicide. Eventually, he is shown in a school bathroom calling the Lifeline, and this is where the tone of the song changes from hopelessness to hopefulness. In the end, the two boys grow up and get married.

The video does a terrific job at highlighting different at-risk populations for suicide, including homosexuality and racial and ethnic minorities. The Lifeline is a vital life-saving resource for anyone contemplating suicide. It is also useful for those who are struggling but don’t have suicidal thoughts.

As a crisis counselor who answers for the Lifeline, I often talk to people who begin the conversation by saying “I’m not thinking about suicide,” or “I’m not going to kill myself.” This is useful information for crisis counselors, but we don’t exist to solely ask the difficult question about suicidal intent and provide support for those thoughts. We are a network of compassionate and nonjudgmental individuals who are willing to talk to you about anything that might be challenging you with life’s most difficult and complex emotions. If you’re having a bad day and are needing someone to process your situation with, call. If you suspect someone might be having suicidal thoughts after hearing a concerning comment and you’re not sure what to do, call. We will help you and explore ways you can help. If you are struggling after you personally have lost someone to suicide or know someone who has attempted suicide, call.

As our culture continues to lift the fog surrounding mental health stigma, the Lifeline is a resource that understands the stigma and is ready to help in whatever way possible.

I promise to continue to do my part in helping anyone navigate their challenges. I understand it takes courage and strength to call. Make the call. It will be worth your time. Mental health is a difficult battle, but a fight that is worth fighting.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers online crisis chat support with live, trained crisis counselors.

Getty Images photo via Srdjanns74

Originally published: March 12, 2019
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