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ReachOut TXT: Kicking Stigma and Keeping Names Confidential

by RO_Meredith Mental Health

 “I love this service. It's helped me in so many times. Thank you, again!" 

After providing over a year of service, with over 936 California participants and 4,078 national participants, the ReachOut TXT* one-way and two-way programs are coming to a close. Although we are sad to see the program halted, as we know many of you are, we feel very fortunate to have been one of the first programs to provide mental health peer support via text.

Since launching ReachOut TXT in October 2013, ReachOut trained a total of 34 enthusiastic text supporters to provide empathetic support and targeted resources to users needing encouragement. The program was met with lots of praise from volunteers and users alike, with comments from participants such as, “You have made my night. I am gonna go eat dinner now yay! You have helped me so much!” and “I just want to Say thank you for the support and an open ear.”

We are grateful for the initial investment of funds for ReachOut TXT distributed by the California Mental Health Services Authority from funding provided by counties. Unfortunately, the grant will come to a close as of December 31, 2014, and as a result ReachOut TXT will end service at that time.  If you find this disappointing – we hear you! Our plan is to find alternative grant funding to re-launch the program in the next year and are hopeful that the success seen by the program thus far will be compelling.

In the meantime, if you're going through a tough time, you can always check out the ReachOutHere Forums where peer supporters are available to provide kind words and useful information. Also, you can connect with counselors over text through the Your Life Your Voice crisis line everyday from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. (PT) by texting "VOICE" to 20121."

We know from our users that text has been a really powerful medium of expression and support seeking, and will keep their words on the value of this service in mind as we look to the future of our programming: “If I don't get a chance to talk to you again, please remember me even just a little. You made an impact on my life."


 

*This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit: calmhsa.org

 

Spotlight on ‘100 Reasons to Recover’

by RO_Meredith Mental Health

At ReachOut , we are all about communities that keep it positive while also keeping it real. 100 Reasons to Recover, a tumblr dedicated to "bringing hope to those in recovery," does just that by posting daily reasons (there are now way more than 100!) to stick with recovery that come from the people who know best -- because they've been there.

Like the ReachOutHere Forums, the contributors to 100 Reasons to Recover deal with a wide range of issues, including eating disorders, self harm and anxiety. The common thread between them is their willingness to get through tough times and encourage others to do the same.

We spoke to Elisabeth, the 23 year-old creator of the blog, to find out more about how she got started and what she's learned form running a tumblr dedicated to recovery. Give it a read and feel free to post your reasons to recover in the ReachOut Forums!

ReachOut: What inspired you to start your tumblr?

100 Reasons To Recover: I had a few friends who were struggling, and they were on Tumblr reblogging things. The things they were reblogging were not the most positive items, but instead promoted reasons to continue engaging in harmful behaviors. This frustrated me. What my friends needed was positivity, but instead they were surrounded by these negative blogs. I conducted a search to see if there were, in fact, any sites promoting reasons for recovery, and there weren't any active sites. My frustration turned into anger. There were all of these people struggling, in need of encouragement, and yet nothing existed. Pro-ana and pro self-harm blogs were everywhere, but the opposite was so difficult to find. That's when I thought, 'Hey, I can create this. My friends do have reasons for their recovery, I have photoshop, I have the internet. I have the means to do this.' I started the blog that afternoon, with input from my friends, not thinking it would go anywhere. Clearly the message resonated though. A month later, we had 1,000 followers and three years later, we now have a community of over 13,000 followers. All of our reasons to recover are submitted by those who are in recovery, and it is the greatest honor for people to trust us with their stories.

ReachOut: Do you have any tips for someone who is struggling with recovery? 

100 Reasons to Recover: Every Sunday, a member of our staff posts an encouraging message. Those can be found by visiting the Staff Says section of our page.  We also collect recovery advice from our followers, through our Surveys. The most popular advice is that relapse will happen and is a part of recovery, that slipping up does not mean you are a failure. Take things a day at a time. Talk to people about what you are feeling - don't keep it inside. It has to be something you want to do for you. We encourage people to not go it alone, and to seek professional help if things are not getting better. Self love and self care is so important. Treat yourself kindly and do things for yourself. Recovery takes time and it is a process. It won't happen all at once, but it will be worth it in the end.

ReachOut: Can you describe your happy place (real or fictional)?

100 Resons to Recover: My happy place is the beach on a bright, sunny day. The sky is clear blue, the waves are rolling in nice and gentle. There is a slight breeze. There aren't a lot of people on the beach with me. The sea gulls are flying around. I've got my favorite book with me. My best friends are there too, a few yards away. We've got lots of food to eat and many things to do. Boogie boards, fishing poles; we are ready for a good time.

Thanks for reading and remember to post your reasons to recover in the forums!

Community Corner: Building a Practice of Gratitude

by Liz_ReachOut Community, Family, Friends, Health

Friends laughingPracticing Gratitude

Positive Pyschology speaks to the importance of gratitude and how crucial it is to happiness. It's something our ReachOutHere forum community practices in this thread and we thought we'd share some of the amazing things they are grateful for:

I am thankful for the person who invented ice cream and cake. I am thankful for uplifting music. I am thankful for my older sister. I am thankful for an amazing God that is a really good listener and a great advice giver. And I am thankful for my friends Erin who is AMAZING!! I wouldnt be the same without her. - Zibzib

I'm thankful that I have a sweet kitty curled up beside me right now, purring and ready for pets! - Lyn Mod

i am thankful for my amazing girlfriend, she is so amazing. i finally found something positive to love. she makes me feel happy. i am also thankful that after 6 months of treatment, im finally out, and not doing that bad. - LJS

I am thankful for family, friends, and all the support receive on this website and elsewhere. - unknownwriter101

I'm thankful of class ending early so that I get to view the wonderful sky (: - AmiableRose

I am thankful for friends, family, access to education, modern day plumbing, scientific inventions, gas efficient cars, night lights, the internet, stuffed animals, WATER (even though I hate drinking it), kindness of strangers, and frozen yogurt. - potatoproblems

Try it out. Every night before you go to bed, think of 3 things you are grateful for from that day and write them down. It's something I've done for years, and even on the crappy days, you can find a surprising amount to be grateful for.

Tell the ReachOut community what you're grateful for here, or register here to get started on your journey in the forums!

 

 

This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).  It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.  CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit: calmhsa.org

How To Let Someone Know ‘You Are Not Alone’

by RO_Meredith

Suicide Prevention week may be over, but the warm fuzzies from the ReachOutHere community just keep on coming! From rocking lime green ribbons in your profile pics to hashtagging posts with the powerful message #YouAreNotAlone, we've been SO impressed by all of the ongoing efforts to join us in showing support for those in need.  

So here's sending HUGE props to all of you who got out there and encouraged those around you to visit ReachOutHere.com, join the ReachOutHere forums and connect with someone who has been where they are. By raising your voice, you took a stand against stigma and also helped broadcast an important message of hope and connection: You Are Not Alone.

And as an added bonus, you looked awesome doing it (just check out this small selection of supporters)!

YouAreNotAlone Collage

If you didn't get the chance to participate last week, don't despair! There are still tons of ways you can raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention and make a difference in your local and online communities.  Three options for getting started:

However you choose to get involved, your efforts can go a long way towards helping a friend, family member or someone else in your social network know that they are not alone.

*This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit: calmhsa.org

You Are Not Alone: Spread the Message for Suicide Prevention Month

by RO_Meredith

In our darkest hour, the thing we crave most is connection.That's why this year we're embracing International Suicide Prevention Week (September 8th-14th 2014) as a chance to ask teens and young adults across the country to look to the ReachOutHere campaign* and remind each other of this important truth: You Are Not Alone.

No matter what you are going through, there is someone who understands. No matter what you've dealt with, there is someone who can benefit from hearing your story. This is why the ReachOutHere campaign leads you to our online discussion forums and it's a key component of moving anyone who is struggling to take the brave step of seeking help.

So this September we're saying it loud and clear and hoping you'll join us:

How to get involved 






 

 

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