By now we’ve all heard the sad news about Robin Williams. Today we’ve seen a lot of groups, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) share important and valuable resources about suicide prevention.

 The director of SAMHSA, Paolo del Vecchio, wrote a blog post today that included a list of resources about suicide prevention. He mentioned that suicide accounted for nearly 40,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2011 and that 9 million adults reported having serious thoughts of suicide in 2012. Read the SAMHSA blog post here

Did you know that you can alert Facebook when you come across suicidal content? If the content is not a direct threat, you can submit it to Facebook. The report goes to Facebook’s safety team, which will immediately email the user with the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a link to start a confidential online chat with a crisis worker.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are connected to a skilled and trained counselor at a crisis center in their area.

OT plays an important role in mental health. Check out this case example about working with a client with suicidal thoughts from our article about OT’s role with depression:

A very intelligent 45-year-old man had started a successful business. He had a daughter and a great marriage. “He came into the hospital suicidal and depressed and couldn’t understand why because his life was going so well,” says Lisa Mahaffey, MS, OTR/L. “Together, we learned that throughout the early part of his life he had set goals, and he always worked hard to meet them. He had gotten to a point in his life where he had met every goal he’d had and could no longer gain a sense of meaning in his day,” says Mahaffey.

The client identified oil painting as a past interest, but he had given it up. He still had the materials, so with encouragement from Mahaffey, he set a goal to dig them out and paint something for his house. A year and a half later, he had a gallery opening. Although this client’s case is unusual, it demonstrates how closely occupation—the things people do—is tied to one’s sense of purpose and identity, and this is where occupational therapy thrives.

If you want to share information about the role of occupational therapy with mental health, read and share our fact sheets here. A new resource for AOTA members is also available—the Focus On Mental Health booklet provides a wide sample of AOTA resources on mental health, from articles and official documents, to tip sheets and advocacy letters. 

Do you have any other resources to share with your colleagues? Tell us in the comments.

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