Hello Friends,

This time of year can be hard. The days are short. You go to work in the dark and you come home in the dark. The holidays, while joyous for some, can be a struggle for others.

Here's the thing, those feelings you have, you're not alone even if it may seem like it. So many people struggle this time of year and year-round.

The recent story of a struggling mother in Boston who took the life of her two children as well of herself is really weighing heavily on my heart. We don't know a lot of details yet other than the father of her children was aware that she was suicidal. She may have struggled with post-partum depression, she may have struggled with suicidal ideation for a long time. We don't know and we may never know.

But this woman, Erin, likely looked like anyone we pass on the street on any given day. She could be your friend, neighbor, sister, or maybe even you.

There is good news. There is hope. There are people out there who will help. I say this as someone who has previously worked in the mental health field. I've witnessed people work through struggles, create safety plans, and get connected with a network of people who are there to help them feel okay again.

If you're struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day 7 days a week: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
They even have an online chat feature.

Another option is the Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112
"The Maine Crisis Hotline helps to stabilize individuals and families while assisting in crisis resolution and action planning. If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody else, call the 24-hour crisis hotline and speak with a trained crisis clinician who can connect you to the closest crisis center."

If you're not in crisis but could use support the Intentional Peer Support Warmline can be reached at: 1-866-771-WARM (9276)
"The Intentional Peer Support Warm Line is available toll-free from anywhere in Maine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a mental health peer-to-peer phone support program offering mutual conversations with a trained specialist who has life experience with mental health and/or substance use issues and recovery. The focus is to encourage and foster recovery, moving toward wellness and reconnecting with community."

If you know someone struggling and you're looking to help them, NAMI Maine is an excellent resource: 1-800-464-5767
"The NAMI Helpline is a safe and confidential mental health service for peers, law enforcement, professionals, friends and family members. It provides support, education and advocacy for anyone with questions about mental health concerns. Helpline available Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm."

If you're a veteran there is a Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press #1, or send a text to 838255, or chat online.

There is zero shame in getting help. A new year is around the corner. An opportunity for many to start fresh, make changes and get well. You deserve that. Take that first step. Even if you're buried under a sea of blankets. Even if you're crying in your car in a parking lot. No matter your situation, call. Call a friend if it's easier then call a hotline together.

Hang in there, friends and lets work to #EndTheStigma.

-Brittany