Start the conversation, save a life. Learn how

Star Herald Editorial

You dont need special training to have an open, authentic conversation about mental health.

For most of us, talking about other aspects of our health — like a recent surgery or treatment — comes easy. Brain health should be the same.

Often, just talking about it can be the first important step in staying connected and helping get support or treatment if needed.

The Luv1LuvAll team members with the Brain Health Initiative have teamed up with Luverne schools and Sanford Luverne to bring suicide survivor Kevin Hines to the community on Sept. 1. (See the front page story.)

He’ll be talking about living with mental illness and about surviving a suicide attempt.

And he’ll talk about ways to begin the conversation about mental illness and asking the question, “Are you OK?”

Organizers hope that this will be a kick-off to suicide prevention in our community, and the intent is to have ongoing conversations and opportunities to talk about suicide.

It is time to have these conversations openly, and it’s time to support one another in our mental health. Plan to come and listen to Kevin Hines to learn how it’s done.

He’ll be there at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, in the school’s new performing arts center. (It will be the first event to be held in the new auditorium.)

Meanwhile, if you’re hurting, ask for help. If you know of someone hurting, reach out.

Are you OK? Is something wrong? Can I help?

Hines says that these were the words he desperately wanted to hear in the moments before he catapulted himself over the rail of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We don’t have to be mental health professionals to be kind.

But there are resources to help guide the conversation.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers the following tips for talking about mental health:

•When someone is struggling, just listen, and let the person share at their own speed.

•Dont pass judgment or offer advice — just be there.

•We all experience mental health differently, and thats OK.

•Check back in, and offer to connect them to help if they need it

The AFSP website offers these and many other practical tips for how to reach out for help, how to help someone thinking about suicide, and more.

Locally, connect with the Brain Health Initiative on the Luv1LuvAll Facebook page.

And plan to join the conversation on Sept. 1 with Kevin Hines.

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