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Helping Those Struggling with Depression or Suicidal Thoughts

Mental health experts say that's it's especially important to help someone if you notice signs of depression. (WCCU)

Whether you knew the person or not, mental health experts say reports of suicides can bring up negative thoughts that can be tough to deal with.

Whether it's a celebrity, someone you knew, or someone in the community, experts say death affects us all differently.

"Maybe they're following them on Instagram or Snap Chat or anything like that,” Elliot Counseling Group Clinical Director Jolie Carsten said. “They'll feel this sense of loss. And if somebody is already having some depressive symptoms going on, that could result in them being triggered to think 'well, maybe these thoughts I've been having about not wanting to take the energy to be here on a daily basis. If he couldn't do it, maybe I can't either.’"

These thoughts can cause a ripple effect, leading to others thinking about taking their own lives.

Students say talking about dark thoughts can be hard on campus.

"It's not something that we like to talk about a lot,” University of Illinois student Alex Gill said. “It's not exactly looked upon in our society- being stressed and feeling down."

Mental health experts say that's why it's especially important to help someone if you notice signs of depression. A good acronym to remember is SLAP.

"How specific is the plan, how lethal is the plan, how available is the plan and what's the proximity to any helpful resources for them?" Carsten explained.

There are also mental health hotlines, including The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, The Mental Health Center of Champaign County’s 24-hour crisis line at (217) 359-4141 and 2-1-1 for mental health resources in the area.

Resources available to U of I students at the Counseling Center - https://counselingcenter.illinois.edu/

"Help is something that we don't think we need,” Gill said. “We all like to think of ourselves as this person who's invulnerable to a lot of the hardships of the world. And sometimes we can persevere, but sometimes it's just overwhelming.

Mental health experts want you to know that you're not alone and there is help out there.

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