Mental Health Monday - January

Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 711 then 1-800-273-8255. All calls are confidential. Dial 911 in an emergency.

Learn more on the NSPL’s website.

SYMPTOMS
All individuals may not exhibit every symptom
These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when lasting for more than two weeks:

• Poor performance in school
• Withdrawal from friends and activities
• Sadness and hopelessness
• Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
• Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
• Anger and rage
• Overreaction to criticism
• Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
• Poor self-esteem or guilt
• Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
• Restlessness or agitation
• Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
• Substance abuse
• Sexual promiscuity
• Risk-taking behaviors
• Problems with authority
• Suicidal thoughts or actions

TEEN SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS
• Suicide threats (direct and indirect)
• Obsession with death
• Poems, essays or drawings that refer to death
• Giving away belongings
• A sense of “hopelessness” and/or no
future vision
• Dramatic change in personality or appearance
• Irrational, bizarre behavior
• Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection
• Significantly changed eating patterns (including drastic weight gains or losses)
• Significantly changed sleeping patterns (especially contributing to school truancy)
• Severe drop in school performance or social interest

GOAL SETTING:
As our student athletes’ transition to a new year, this can be a natural time to think about setting goals, perhaps for their specific sport, academics or areas of interest.  This may be especially true after a very challenging year like we've had.  When psychologists work with athletes, they often use a variety of different methods to help athletes achieve their goals.  One of the most commonly used strategies is setting SMART goals.  SMART stands for:

Specific:  Write out clear, concise goals
Measurable:  Make sure to track you progress…write it out!
Achievable:  Set challenging yet achievable goals.
Relevant:  Set goals that are relevant to your plan, be it sports, academics, etc.
Timely:  Make sure your goal has a target finish time.

Some common pitfalls that can happen in goal setting:

  1. Focusing only on the outcome of winning or losing. It is really important for individuals to set goals based on their own levels of performance.  When you focus on the performance goal, you’re chances of winning increase.
  2. Don’t set too many goals at once. The more you set, the more difficult it can be to evaluate your goals or change them if an injury or other life situation happens.
  3. Setting unspecific or unmeasurable goals: the less specific, the harder it will be to measure.  For example, “Improving my passing in soccer” is a difficult goal to measure.  A baseball catcher wanting to improve his throws to 2nd base when a runner is stealing is much more specific and measurable.

As a reminder, if your child, teen or athlete appear to be struggling with symptoms of anger, stress, depression or anxiety, let them you know you are there to support them.  Scheduling an appointment with their pediatrician or family doctor can be an important step to getting them the help they need.   Students can also reach out to the Colorado Crisis Line and text or talk with a professional. Text “Talk” to 38255 or call 1-844-493-8255.

Information provided by:
Alex J. Reed, PsyD, MPH
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

RESOURCES
Suicide and Mental Health Resources in your area of the state
Principles of Effective Goal Setting
Strides (App)

For more Mental Health Information, please click HERE.