Laurel House Launches Resources to Recover Website with Online and Phone Support For Families in Search of Mental Health Services

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A Connecticut Mother Transforms Loss of Her Son by Suicide into a Positive Through Advocacy to Help Others and Promotes Mental Health Checklist for Parents of First-Year College Students

Laurel House, (http://www.laurelhouse.net), is announcing its exciting new initiative, Resources to Recover, http://www.rtor.org, a gateway website with online and phone support where families in search of expert mental health services and information can explore service provider options via online chat or phone with Resources to Recover Resource Specialists. This service has a regional focus on families living in CT, NY, NJ and MA.

Laurel House is a non-profit organization that provides critical support programs and services to those living with mental health issues and their families. To raise support for its services, Laurel House is hosting a Derby Dinner Dance and Silent Auction on May 2, 2015 at the Woodway Country Club in Darien, CT. Guests will watch the Kentucky Derby and dance to the music of Alex Donner and his Orchestra. All proceeds will go towards Resources to Recover.

Laurel House’s mental health resources are a critical support service for teens who are struggling with depression and possible suicide. For Laurel House volunteer and Connecticut mother, Holly Hinds, access to mental health services and overcoming the bias, ignorance and avoidance of mental health topics could have made all the difference. “I remember when I was seeking help and services for my son and how alone I felt,” said Ms Hinds. “I wish I had known about a program and website like Laurel House and rtor.org,”

“Thirteen years ago, I lost my son Chris to suicide when he was a senior at Weston High School. Chris was a bright, sensitive young man with great promise who had struggled with depression for several years,” said Ms. Hinds. “Since that tragic event, my life lesson has been that of how to transform the loss of my son into something positive that will help others.”

“I try to accomplish that transformation by speaking publicly about his death by suicide, educating others about suicide prevention and mental health at high schools and colleges and advocating for children, teens and young people who live with mental health challenges through organizations like the Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board (http://www.preventsuicidect.org) and the Southwest Regional Mental Health Board (http://www.swrmhb.org),” added Ms. Hinds.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among college students; in a recent Emory University study, 1 in 10 college students were found to have a “suicide plan.” As a parent, before saying “that would never happen to my child or any of my child’s friends,” consider the following statistics on college students and mental health from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org):

  •     75% percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 24.
  •     1 in 4 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental health condition.
  •     More than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45 percent have felt things were hopeless.

Starting college is an exciting time but it can also cause anxiety and other stress related symptoms. Anyone can develop a mental health problem – there is nothing that makes anyone immune. Mental health conditions are like other illnesses, they can be diagnosed and treated.

It is a common practice for parents to have a variety of “talks” with their teens about drinking, drugs and sex, but a talk about mental health is usually not on the list but should be. Parents give teens endless information, posit different “what if” situations and talk through possible safety plans when it comes to drinking, drugs and sex but don’t when it comes to mental health.

Parents need to ask some of these critical questions of themselves and of their kids:

  •     How informed is your teen when it comes to dealing with a possible mental health problem at college? Do they know some of the most common warning signs of a mental health problem?
  •     Have you talked through a plan with your teen about what to do if he believes he may be experiencing a mental health crisis?
  •     Does your teen know what to do if one of his friends is acting depressed or says he is thinking about killing himself?

The odds are that a teen, their friend or a roommate will experience a mental health problem during their college years. In anticipation of this, it’s wise to develop a plan so they know what resources are available at college, not only for mental health but also for “mental wellness.” Activities like meditation and yoga can support a state of “mental wellness” even in stressful times.

“I feel privileged that Laurel House has identified me as a volunteer who will be honored at their annual fundraiser for my advocacy work in making our communities a better place,” said Ms. Hinds.

Laurel House encourages donations to honor the recovery journey of a loved one, or
in gratitude for the wellness of one’s family, or on behalf of other families who are struggling, sometimes in silence.

Additional Resources:
1 800 273-8255(TALK) – suicide prevention lifeline (call if you are the person needing help or call if you are worried about someone else)
suicidepreventionlifeline.org
http://www.preventsuicidect.org
http://www.nami.org

About Laurel House
Laurel House, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Stamford, Connecticut that provides resources and opportunities for people living with mental illness to lead fulfilling and productive lives in the communities where they live, work and go to school. http://www.laurelhouse.net

About Resources to Recover
Laurel House provides Resources to Recover, a robust array of integrated services and expertise to people with mental illness and their families across numerous communities in and around Connecticut. http://www.rtor.org

Holly Hinds lives in Weston, CT and can be reached at hhinds(at)crosspointpartners(dot)com

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Barbara Rossi
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