Woman in black and white, with half of face visible, eye closed.

If you are considering suicide, odds are, there is an underlying issue that needs to be treated in order for you to feel okay again. Suicidal thoughts do not simply occur for no reason. There are many things that can cause an individual to contemplate suicide. Depression, social isolation, addiction, the loss of a close loved one to suicide, and other mental health disorders may all be contributing factors for a person experiencing suicidal ideation.

My spouse is from Louisiana, which is a disaster area right now, flooded from days of steady, record-setting rain. I lived there for a while myself, which is how we met, and we got married there, in Tangipahoa Parish (a parish is equivalent to a county, for us Washingtonians). So it's hitting a bit close to home for me - but disasters are still hard to hear about, even when you're far away and don't personally know anyone in them.

More than 10,000 people are in shelters in Louisiana and 30,000 people have been rescued. It is unbelievable seeing the water-logged condition some of our friends' and family’s homes are in.

Celtic Center in Baton Rouge. Photo from Deborah Burst via Facebook.

[Caption: Celtic Center in Baton Rouge. Photo from Deborah Burst via Facebook.]

After extensive community input and feedback, King County has released its DRAFT MIDD II Service Improvement Plan for public review and comment. Public comment (online) is open until 5 PM on Thursday, June 30.

As an individual who was diagnosed with bipolar disease in 1979, I've seen many sides of the mental health field in those past several decades. My forte? Mania, not so much depression. When manic, I lose all sense of what's right and proper and safe. I've been hospitalized many, many times because of mania and have experienced all the local psychiatric hospitals and have also done stays at Western State Hospital. During this time, I've felt hopeless, scared, out of control and negative about myself.

It's almost Mental Health Month, and I want to talk about Cody Lee Miller. Unfortunately, most people probably know him as #ManInTree. The internet lit up with #ManInTree hashtags three weeks ago after Mr. Miller's 25 hour occupation of a towering sequoia tree in downtown Seattle.

This past Martin Luther King Day, nearly two hundred of us from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Washington State descended upon the Capitol in Olympia to make our voices heard.  We both advocated for better mental health services and demanded repairs to the broken mental healthcare system in our State.

NAMI Seattle recommends you check out Ali Cherry's article in the Huffington Post: "You Don't Need Mental Illness to Need Mental Health"

*Trigger Warning*

When I think about my ongoing battle with mental illness I feel exhausted. It's exhausting every day to try and "feel better." To feel "normal." By the end of the day I'm so tired all I want is to sleep. I'm tired from the trying. I'm tired from analyzing every little mistake as it quickly snowballs into being the reason I lose my family or my job or my friends or my boyfriend. I'm tired of worrying all the time. I'm tired of not being able to respond back to text messages or phone calls from friends because I'm I don't want them to know. I don't know what to say. I'm tired of not feeling good enough; a good enough friend, girlfriend, dog owner, teacher. The list goes on and on.

"You should try meditating." If I've heard it once, I've heard it a dozen times. People often say that if you are stressed out, the best thing you can do is meditate. While there is plenty of scientific evidence showing that it can reduce anxiety and improve your mental health, for me, it doesn't seem to help at all. Not doing anything allows all of my stressful and frantic thoughts to come pouring into my mind. Focusing on my breath is not enough to clear away these thoughts. I understand that I could devote more time to practicing meditation, but there are other some effective ways I've found to de-stress. Here are a few of the activities I've found effective, and a few others, that have been backed by research to help you handle stress.

Early, or a first episode psychosis, are the first signs that a person is experiencing a loss of contact from reality. This moment is often frightening, confusing and distressing to a person and his or her family.