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September is Self-Care Awareness & Suicide Prevention Month

COVID-19 has impacted our lives in many ways. These changes have been unpredictable and hard to navigate. This year has been very challenging and full of obstacles. We have seen panic, increased abuse and violence, illness and deaths, financial hardship and division within communities. Although some restrictions have been lifted, others remain enforced. Schools are beginning to open up again, many employees are back in the office and some teams are competing; however, things are not back to “normal” and might not be for some time. Some residents continue to be secluded, while others are having social interactions within the community. We all have different views but each of us has been affected in one way or another by the additional stress these changes have caused.

At SOS, we understand that we cannot properly care for others if we are not taking care of ourselves. We encourage our staff and clients to practice self-care, especially during times of high stress. Some ideas of self-care might include taking a walk, deep breathes, exercise, eating healthy, drinking water or singing along with music. Allow yourself time to process your feelings and pause for a few minutes of meditation. It is beneficial to talk about your fears and concerns with someone who will listen without judgement or write them in a journal. For every concern you have, try to list 2-3 positive things as well. Remember that our stress can often be felt or seen by others (especially our youth). This is a good time to make sure our words and actions are not causing additional negativity in the lives of our youth. If you are a parent, guardian or teacher, encourage your children to talk about their feelings and offer them some stress-reducing self-care activities to try as well.

If not addressed, stress can easily lead to feelings of hopelessness and even suicide. Please take care of yourself and help those around you that might be struggling with anxiety or depression. Some warning signs of suicide might include change in behavior, substance abuse, anger, anxiety, withdrawal, self-harm, endangering themselves, mood changes, changes in sleep, giving away possessions, feelings of hopelessness or talk of death. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the local non-profit, Beacon for Hope, at 620-208-9926. If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, please call our 24/7 SOS Helpline at 800-825-1295. We want you to know that you are not alone, and SOS is here to help.

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