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Whenever I’m given the opportunity to talk about something important to me, suicide prevention always at the top of the list.

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember and have always had difficulty feeling any sense of belonging. So much so that, four years ago after my first quarter in college, I attempted suicide. The whole experience initially left me feeling even more disconnected from myself and the world.

After my attempt I realized that I needed to find a healthy, recovery community. So I started on my journey to recovery and the suicide prevention community has been an integral part of that journey. It is difficult to even put into words the affect that a supportive, compassionate community can have on esteem, identity, and recovery – so maybe some suggestions for finding a good community is the best way to go.

So, for this first blog and for the sake of starting off on the right foot, this is my two cents on how to find a healthy and helpful, recovery community or just a community in general.

1. First thing’s first, know yourself. In order to find a community that will meet your needs, you need to know what those needs are.

2. Be honest and value honesty. If you are able to speak openly and safely inside of that community and can expect the same respect from other members, then it will be a benefit to you in the long run.

3. Engage in positive coping skills. Recovery from or through a mental illness requires the adoption of new, better, and healthier coping skills. Find a community that will keep you interested and motivated.

4. Set boundaries. Any new experience requires that you know your personal limits and that you have a plan in place to keep yourself safe whenever those boundaries are crossed, whether by yourself or someone else.

5. Lastly, be persistent. Stay realistic and understand that you may need to try out a couple of different options to find a good fit for you. But hopefully you have learned (from any experiences you have had up to this point) that you are number one and that your safety and comfort is critical to successful and long-lasting happiness.

I can’t say that recovery has been easy, but it has been rewarding. If you know anyone who is struggling, talk about it. Everyone needs a community.


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