Name: Lauren Allen
In this interview, Lauren discusses her own experience with mental health, and offers some tips on how to reach out and seek help – even when it sounds daunting.
Q: What does “mental health” mean to you?
(Lauren): To me mental health is riding the wave of emotions and not letting the lows get the best of me.
Q: Do you feel that currently there is sufficient education and awareness surrounding suicide prevention? Why?
(Lauren): I feel like there can always be more work to be done around the education and awareness of suicide. I think suicide and suicidal thoughts are still very hidden by the people that suffer for them, for me I’ve hidden those thoughts because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I said something, more afraid than of suicide iteself. Which is why I feel like it should be more well known that there are stages to suicide and everyone who suffers should have a Suicide Prevention Plan. (see photo, right)
Q: What do you feel is the biggest barrier preventing individuals from seeking support for their mental health?
(Lauren): For me it was being afraid to say out loud what I had kept quiet/secret for so long. I kept thinking how am I going to talk to a stranger about things I feel I can’t say out loud. Which is why for me to get to that first appointment it took steps. My suggestions would be; 1. If you have someone in your life you can talk to, tell them how you’re feeling; 2. If you can’t say it out loud write it down and hand it to them; 3. If you can bring that loved one to your first appointment that really helps.