I was shaken and saddened by the news of a double homicide that occurred blocks away from my family earlier this month. My heart goes out to the family of the victims, their friends, and the community impacted by this tragedy.
While I don’t presume to have any knowledge about the situation that occurred, I do want to take a moment to remind people in our community (and all communities for that matter) that seeking out mental health services is a strength and not a sign of weakness or that some how you are “broken.”
It saddens me that – due to stigma – many people do not get readily available and needed services. One wouldn’t dream of judging a friend or family member for getting treatment for cancer or other physical injury. But what if that same friend was getting counseling or mental health services for depression? Would you support them just the same even though you can’t “see” the injury? Reduce this stigma and make it OK to get help by talking about mental health as a real problem with real treatment options with your friends and family.
Everyone out there, this part is important. In all my years of providing mental health services, know this: There is help available no matter how terrible, impossible, or upsetting things may seem. Most importantly, with help, it can get better!
If you are struggling with anger, depression, loss, anxiety, suicidal or homicidal thinking, you can contact the 4-County Crisis Line and mobile response team out of St. Cloud at 320-252-5010. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to you. That unit also provides a text message based support called Txt4Life. Just text “Life” to 61222. Both services are confidential and for both teens and adults.
There are also numerous counseling/mental health centers in the general area. Right here in St. Michael, my agency, Solutions Counseling has 14 licensed mental health therapists or counselors that deal with some of the toughest and hardest situations everyday in our community.
How can these therapists and phone/text counselors work with these tough situations every day? Because with help, people can get better and feel better. It’s a rewarding profession where therapists walk with you on your journey and see a future without the problems present even when you cannot. Our job is to find and instill hope when you may not believe it exists.
But we can’t help, unless you all help make it okay to reach out to those therapists and counselors. So please, take a moment with your friends and your family. Remind them there is always help no matter how impossible things may seem. And most importantly, it can get better.