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If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or is considering suicide, help is available. Reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or contact Crisis Text Line by texting PA to 741741.
HeadsUp does not offer clinical services.
As religious or spiritual leaders, you hold a special and important space in the communities you serve. The nature of these supportive roles, coupled with the deep level of trust established within these pillars, position you as potential key respondents to a young person in your community who may need support.Read More +
Through education, collaboration and the building of tools for intervention, you can help young people who may be suffering from early psychosis, possibly before they find themselves in a crisis situation. This help is often in the form of recognizing possible signs of mental illness, familiarizing yourself with the language useful to engage with that person, and knowing the best resources in your area to access for care.
According to a nationally representative general population survey of people ages 15–54, it was estimated that approximately one quarter of people seeking mental health care look to a member of the clergy before contacting a service provider. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360908/)
Wang, P. S., Berglund, P. A., & Kessler, R. C. (2003). Patterns and correlates of contacting clergy for mental disorders in the United States. Health services research, 38(2), 647–673. https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.00138
Navigating the experience of a mental health condition is challenging on many levels. A person can often feel isolated, confused and worried about telling others in fear of how they will be perceived. Mental health stigma includes perceiving someone negatively just because they may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.Read More +
Many people who describe their personal experiences with stigma report feeling shamed or judged for their illness. Delays in getting care are often fueled by stigma surrounding serious mental illness.
Religious leaders can help minimize these feelings of personal shame by fostering inclusivity and openness. It is important to always maintain a positive, shame-free environment to help uplift the safety of all young people. This security and trust can help to bolster pathways for disclosure regarding any mental health concerns an individual may have about themselves or their peers. Religious leaders and their organizations set the tone around mental health awareness. They can formally provide learning resources for young people and their parents that includes normalizing and hopeful language about psychosis.
Many community leaders and liaisons have a hard time discerning when and if a referral to a mental health professional is necessary for an individual. If you are unsure, it is usually better to reach out. Here are some situations that require prompt or immediate referral:Read More +
When a young person demonstrates threat to their personal safety and/or to the safety of those around them (for example, suicidal behavior, severe aggressive behavior, self-mutilation like cutting, or other self-destructive behavior).
Thoughts of suicide should always be taken seriously and be cause for referral. While a person may not share these thoughts with you, close family members and friends may be aware of concerning behaviors, like withdrawal, giving items away, or suicide attempts, and/or expressions of hopelessness, and bring these to your attention. A person who is expressing suicidal thoughts or behaviors is having a psychiatric emergency and immediate psychiatric evaluation / consultation should be sought. It is important to become familiar with local crisis services in your area. Keep contact information for your local crisis services on hand for easy reference in a crisis. If a person is in immediate risk of self-harm, or has engaged in self-injurious behaviors, call 911/Emergency Medical Services and specify that this is a mental health crisis. In some areas, a responder with Crisis Intervention Training can be requested.
Notice the level of distress and planning:
Ways to Make a Referral for Mental Health Treatment:
The word psychosis pertains to a variety of symptoms that affect the mind. Characterized by noticeable changes in behaviors, perceptions, thoughts and beliefs, a young person with psychosis is sometimes unable to distinguish what is real and what is not.
It can be hard to tell when someone is experiencing early psychosis. An individual experiencing psychosis may have all or only a few of the symptoms below. The intensity and impact of symptoms can also vary enormously from one individual to another. If a congregant shares that they are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to connect them to a First Episode Psychosis Center.Read More +
These experiences vary from person to person. Symptoms may be frightening and seem very real to the person having them and may include:
Voices or auditory hallucinations
Hearing single or multiple voices, which can be simple or complex, abusive, neutral or soothing. People may hear whispers or clear/distinct voices; they may describe changes in their hearing acuity (e.g., hearing things from another room); they may describe indistinct or clear noises or sounds (e.g., buzzing/ringing) which are new and/or distressing. They may tell you directly that they are experiencing these perceptions, or you may notice cues in their behavior such as: they may appear to be talking to themselves, looking somewhere and you don’t know why, or focusing on certain body parts.
Tactile or somatic sensations or hallucinations
Body sensations or feelings that are new and strange. These are sometimes described as electrical charges or feeling something crawling on a body part. People sometimes feel that a part of their body has changed in some significant and troublesome way (e.g., bigger/smaller).
Unusual or delusional thinking
Persistent beliefs not shared by others. A young person may report thinking other people are watching them or that they are under surveillance, feeling very good at certain tasks, having a connection to a famous person, or any number of thoughts that are different and unusual. They sometimes report that television, music or other media are communicating directly to them. You may also notice that a student is pulling away in social situations, seems uneasy with others, or makes comments indicating suspiciousness about others’ intentions.
Depersonalization and/or Derealization
Feeling they are an outside observer of their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Examples are feeling that their speech or movements are uncontrollable or controlled by outside forces, that parts of their body are distorted, or feel their memories are not their own. They may feel alienated from their surroundings, or disconnected from people (as if they were separated by a glass wall). Their surroundings may seem distorted, colorless, two-dimensional or artificial and they may have misperceptions of time and space.
A person’s speech and writing may become disorganized and/or tangential. They may draw connections between words or terms that seem illogical or non-sensical, or they may have more difficulty than usual following conversations.
Slowing of speech, movement and motivation
A young person may demonstrate changes in the amount, tone, rate, pitch, or rhythm of speech. Psychosis may slow people down and significantly lower one’s motivational energy.
Depression and demoralization
Many individuals with psychosis experience significant depression and/or demoralization.
It is important to seek help as soon as you are concerned. The care received at an FEP (First Episode Psychosis) center is designed with each individual in mind and involves many types of trained, caring people who will collaborate with the individual and their family to plan a path towards recovery.Read More +
Our programs and programs like ours will typically offer a team of people who will help. Each program is a little different but will often include:
Talk therapy to help build personal skills of resiliency, management, and coping.
Supported Employment & Education Assistance
Help continuing to engage in or adjust to school and work goals while receiving care.
If necessary, finding the best medication at the lowest possible dose.
Guidance from those currently on their own recovery path.
Skills and support to organize the practical issues presented during treatment. This includes communication with other team members.
Family Support and Education
Tools designed to keep family members engaged and informed.
There are many ways HeadsUp can collaborate and work with communities of faith to support and uplift the mental health of their youth. Here are just a few ideas:Read More +