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Self-Care Awareness & Self-Harm Prevention

September 2021

 

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TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains information related to self-harm and suicide to promote prevention and inform those who may be experiencing concern. Proceed with caution. 

 

September is both self-care awareness and suicide prevention month. These topics are intimately related and especially important as we are dealing with a unique time in our society. This Spotlight Series will help educate our UNF community on how we can care for ourselves and help others who may be in need. 

 

Self–Care  

 

 

 

This September brings new adventures and challenges for everybody, but especially for members of university communities. Dealing with online learning can lead to problems with motivation, technology issues and difficulty managing time efficiently. One way to deal with tough emotions or situations is by practicing self-care or taking an active role in protecting your own well-being and happiness.  

During times of change and uncertainty, it is essential to take steps to maintain mental, emotional, and physical health. Try these self-care tips: 

 
  1. Maintain or Create Connections 

 

Follow your own safety protocols but there are safe ways to interact with other students on campus. Osprey Life & Productions maintains a list of on-campus events, Osprey Involvement Center can help you connect with student clubs and organizations and several other areas of campus are regularly hosting events. 

 
  1. Take care of your body 

Physical wellness can have its own proven health benefits but can also improve mental and emotional wellness. Going out for a walk, swim or bike ride can give you a much-needed mental break and get your blood flowing. The Student Wellness Center is open but following safety guidelines, including Group Fitness classes. 
 
  1. Take a break from news and social media 

 

Often the expectations and pressures we experience come from unrealistic images we find in the news and social media. Taking a break from scrolling through these images and other realities can help provide us with clarity and time to reset.  

 
  1. Make yourself a priority 

 

Prioritize YOU! It is okay to say no to others and focus on your needs. This includes staying home to rest, going to group fitness, choosing to study over socializing with friends. Delaying studies or work for fun can sometimes create more stress or anxiety, but also participating in fun social events can be a great way to connect with others. Be selective and prioritize what is best for you. 

 
  1. Prioritize Sleep 

 

As simple as it is, getting a good night of sleep can go a long way! Setting up a healthy sleep space can include comfortable pillows and blankets, turning off electronics and making sure there is adequate air flow. Stretching, reading books or meditating can be great ways to wind down and relax your mind before laying down for some shut eye. 

 
  1. Avoid self-medicating 

 

Self-medicating with prescription drugs, alcohol, or illegal substances can sometimes help you feel relaxed or as if you are getting deep sleep, but you are depriving yourself of restful sleep. Oftentimes alcohol and other drugs can boost anxious or depressive emotions. Individuals who are struggling and choose to self-medicate are often at higher risks for developing high-risk substance issues.  

 

 

Self – Harm Prevention 

 

Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Counselor 

  

WHAT IS SELF-HARM? 

 

Self-harm and self-injury are any forms of hurting oneself on purpose. Usually, when people self-harm, they do not do so as a suicide attempt. Rather, they self-harm to release painful emotions. It can manifest differently for everyone, and the ways people may self-harm extend far beyond the usual references to cutting. It can be anything and everything someone can do to purposely hurt their body. 

EXAMPLES OF SELF-HARM 

 
  • Cutting 

  • Scratching

  • Burning 

  • Carving into skin 

  • Hitting or punching oneself 

  • Piercing the skin with sharp objects 

  • Pulling out hair 

  • Picking at existing wounds 

 

HOW TO DEAL WITH SELF-HARM 

 
  • Emotions can be painful, and it is normal to need ways to cope with the hard things in life. If you, or somebody you know, is using self-harm to manage your emotions, there are people who can help and want to keep you safe.  
  • Text to cool down: Send a text to the Crisis Text Line or reach out to a trusted individual who can help you manage your emotions and connect with someone.  
  • Get Creative: Studies show that connecting with your creative side and making art can help with processing emotions.  
  • Find your zen: Finding a healthy alternative is one way to keep yourself or others from self-harm while still working through some tough emotions. Researchers found taking time to re-center through mediation can be a powerful way to find your cool and calm. Try using an app like Headspace, linked below, to start. 
  • You may never know who is in need but passing on information and resources like the Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741) can help!  

 

 

Suicide Prevention 

 

Suicide prevention

#Bethe1To | National Suicide Prevention Lifeline | suicidepreventionlifeline.org 

 

September is also National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide can be a tough topic to speak about, but is important to discuss with friends and family, especially those who might be struggling. Talking to those in need, showing them support and care can often lead them to seek help and reduce their suicidal ideations. Follow the steps outlined by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline outlined below or seek assistance from the supportive services listed below. 

 
 

ASK 

 

Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks about them in a caring way. Acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce, rather than increase, suicidal ideation.  

BE THERE 

 

Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgment. 

KEEP THEM SAFE 

 

A number of students have indicated that when lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline and frequently suicide rates overall decline.  

 

HELP THEM STAY CONNECTED  

Studies indicate that helping someone at risk create a network of resources and individuals for support and safety can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness. 

FOLLOW UP 

 

Studies have shown that brief, low-cost intervention and supportive ongoing contact may be an important part of suicide prevention, especially for individuals after they have been discharged from hospitals or care services. 

How to Seek Help

 

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, extreme anxiety/depression, or thoughts of self-harm, please know you are not alone and there are people to help. Please reach out to your on-campus resources, listed below, or dial any of the free hotlines provided.  

If you recognize a friend or loved one who is struggling, reach out to them and tell them you care and ask if they need help. If you are unsure how to approach the situation, the resources listed below are also available to help you as well.  

 

 

Why: Mental health is a large concern due to the prolonged period of isolation many of us have experienced over the last 18 months, among dealing with health, safety, and security inconsistencies. It is always a good time to normalize feelings of despair, you do not need to go through it alone! There are resources to help and people who care!  

 

 

 

More Information:  

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution - https://www.unf.edu/conduct/About_ADR.aspx  

Supporting Our Students – www.unf.edu/deanofstudents/sos  

UNF Counseling Center -- https://www.unf.edu/counseling-center/  

Crisis Text Line - https://www.crisistextline.org  

Suicide Prevention Lifeline – www.suicidepreventionlifeline.com 1-800-273-8255 

 

Created by Rachel Winter, University Conduct Officer