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Understanding Emotional Wellness and Suicide Prevention

Guest article by Melissa Howard. See more articles from

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Life can be difficult.  Many people endure dark times, and for some, those periods of darkness can become overwhelming.  They can reach a point it becomes unbearable.  We offer this important information on suicide, emotional wellness, and stepping back from the edge. 

Who is at risk?  Suicide can touch any segment of the population.  For example, according to statistics, 14 out of every 100,000 Americans committed suicide in 2017.  People from all walks of life may be victims of suicide, regardless of age, background, social or economic standing. 

Emotional wellness.  Emotional wellness refers to your ability to accept a broad variety of emotions, both in yourself and in others.  According to some scholars, emotional wellness is necessary for people to be able to manage and express how they feel, to develop healthy self-esteem, and to engage in satisfying, healthy relationships.  It’s important to engage in relaxation techniques and a healthy stress-management program to maintain emotional wellness. 

If you are unsure about your own emotional wellness, Princeton University offers an online emotional wellness self-assessment tool to gauge your status and choose a plan for improvement.

Suicide warning signs.  Warning signs mean someone is harboring thoughts about suicide, and a crisis may be imminent.  Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

recommends being alert to the following warnings signs:

  • Extreme mood swings, including rages.
  • Acting recklessly, such as hazardous driving.
  • Abusing substances.
  • Talk of being a burden to others.
  • Talk of a desire to die or end one’s life.
  • Seeking methods for suicide.
  • Talk of hopelessness or lack of purpose.
  • Talk of unbearable pain.
  • Talk of feeling trapped or without relief.
  • Anxious or agitated actions.
  • Withdrawing or isolating oneself.
  • Talk of vengeance.
  • Sleeping inadequately or excessively.

The American Psychological Association also notes those considering suicide may show signs of preparing for death.  This may take on a variety of appearances, such as giving away possessions once held dear or making funeral arrangements. 

What to do.  If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please get help.  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at any time of the day or night.  The number for the hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  It’s a free service to connect those in crisis with help.  Experts recommend adding the hotline to your cell phone in case of an emergency, as well as the number for a trusted relative or close friend.  Also, don’t hesitate to seek out a counselor or therapist if you feel you need to speak with someone.  Many insurance policies cover this type of therapy, and seniors who are enrolled in Medicare have access to an annual depression screening through their primary care physician.  Additionally, those seniors with a Medicare Advantage plan, such as one from UnitedHealthcare, can take advantage of counseling services and prescription drug coverage.

If someone is in immediate danger, you can call emergency services.  Also, include the non-emergency number for the local police department in your phone.  

There is hope.  No matter how difficult life becomes, remember that tomorrow is a new day.  If you or someone you love is suffering, reach out.  No matter how dark it seems, things can be better.

Suicide Help

Recently we heard the tragic news of KC native and fashion designer, Kate Spade. She was believed to have lived with bipolar disorder and is noted to have sought help numerous times. It is not known that this is the reason of her suicide. According to the CDC there are many factors other than mental health that contribute to suicide including relationship problems, substance abuse, crisis, physical health problem, loss of housing, and job/financial problems. As suicide rates are on the rise, it is important that we raise our level of knowledge and understanding of suicide as well. This will help promote suicide prevention. 

CDC’s Preventing Suicide Fact Sheet

World Health Organization’s Suicide Prevention Initiative 

CDC’s Understand Suicide Fact Sheet   

Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center – Including an online chat option

Missouri Suicide Prevention Resource Center

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Including online chat 

National Suicide Text Hotline

SAVE : Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Suicide Prevention | SAMHSA

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Most importantly – Please Remember You Are Never Alone


Looking for new ideas in your wellness?

In this age of technology there are new ways of managing mood disorders right at your finger tips. I searched Google Play on my Android phone today for “mental health app” to receive a multitude of results. There was everything from breathing exercises, to trackers, to chat therapy. Since I lack the time to research all options available, I turned to the Internet for recommendations. has composed a nice well-rounded list of 10 apps to try (especially if you are like me and overwhelmed at where to start). 



A Techie Way to Wellness – There’s an App for That!

Did you know that DBSA has its own Wellness Tracker App?

Let’s face it, as a society we have become dependent on our phones. Since we never go anywhere without them, what better way to keep track of your emotional, mental, and physical health. Other trends you can track are lifestyle (sleep, exercise, etc.) and medications (including those pesky side effects). There are monthly reports with summaries of how you Actually felt (as opposed to how you think you felt based on your mood while you are talking to your doctor). A good log will also help you identify consistent triggers you face in your life. This is all super valuable information for your clinician to help create a wellness plan completely customized to you!


Download your free DBSA Wellness Tracker App (Named the 2015 Top Bipolar App) for either Apple or Android here:




If you do not have an account, you can create a new one from the app’s initial screen or by going to

Prefer to track using your computer? No problem. 

  • Register on to access DBSA Wellness Tracker
  • Login to DBSA Wellness Tracker on



Why is registration on required? is the tool DBSA uses to store your daily logs. A digital filing cabinet of sorts. Your information is yours and will not be shared. Once registered, you will also be able to use all of the other features and tools on

Apple, the Apple logo iPhone and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.



Kansas City Crisis Center

Kansas City Triage and Assessment Center held a grand opening today, October 28th, at 2600 E. 12th Street in Kansas City. The new facility will have eight beds for mental health crises and eight beds for people in alcoholic distress to stay for up to 23 hours. The center is designed and opened as an alternative to the ER or jail. 


Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein

In efforts to promote National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month in October, 2016; Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 2-8); National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 6); World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10);. Veterans Day (Nov. 11); International Survivors of Suicide Day (Nov. 19); and Mental Wellness Month in January 2017, season 4 of Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffery Borenstein is being release on national public television, including local KCPT channels. 

NEW YORK, Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The national public television series Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein aims to remove the stigma of mental illness, educate the public and offer a message of hope by humanizing common psychiatric conditions through inspiring personal stories, cutting edge research on diagnosis and treatment, and interviews with well-known personalities, including Brian Wilson, Patrick Kennedy, and Nobel Prize Winner Eric Kandel.

Although the series has already begun, the following episodes can be found on KCPT live:

Brian Wilson, Love & Mercy
Patrick Kennedy – A Common Struggle (Part One)
Patrick Kennedy – A Common Struggle (Part Two)
(with more to follow)
For a complete list of episode topics and other mental health information and resources, please visit the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s website.


Local Services Available To All


Don Goldman, Executive Director of Jewish Family Services of Greater KC, is coming this Thursday (October 20th) to DBSA Overland Park’s regularly scheduled support group.

 Mr. Goldman will be discussing topics important to our support groups including mental health conditions, substance abuse, trauma, and eating disorders.

JFS is committed to providing comprehensive human services to the Greater Kansas City area. They serve people of all faiths who are in need. Program services include Career Skills & Connections (CSC), Chaplaincy, Counseling and Mental Health Services, Family Life Education, Food and Shelter, Older Adult Services, and Volunteer Services. For complete descriptions of what these services include, please visit  With offices in both Kansas and Missouri, and volunteer drivers to help their clients to and from appointments, JFS is accessible to all looking for help. 

Please join us in welcoming Executive Director Don Goldman for this very important informational presentation. JFS services are an important part of wellness in the Greater Kansas City area. We will also be hosting a regular support group in a separate room at Baker University for those needing peer support counseling.

You can also reach out to Jewish Family Services at:


5801 W 115th Street, Suite 103
Overland Park, KS 66211
Tel: 913-327-8250
Fax: 913-327-8222



9233 Ward Parkway, Suite 125
Kansas City, MO 64114
Tel: 816-333-1172
Fax: 816-333-1776

Hours of Business are Monday-Thursday: 8am-5pm and Friday: 8am-3pm. Some evening appointments are also available by request at 913-327-8250 and [email protected]