Community health and safety/Mental Health

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CYA part of this whole thing: Though I work in the social service field, I am not a mental health professional. The following lists were put together to make suggestions for readily available access to resources and references in regards to suicide prevention and grief management. There are many other resources I've probably missed, and varying ones depending on your area of meatspace.

Now that's out of the way, I'd also like to tell you something else that's extremely important. And, while I'm not a professional, I know the following to be fact.

Depression is a mental illness that cannot be cured by human compassion. Like all diseases, it doesn't discriminate. However it is treatable- and requires professional mental health provider. You can love, support, and do whatever humanly possible to convince someone that their life is worth living, and it may help in the short run, but without that professional help they're a time bomb. It's not your fault. There's really nothing you could have done to prevent it.

Signs and Symptoms:

Someone with depression experiences extreme sadness or despair that lasts more than a couple of days, extending to weeks and even months. People who are truly depressed find that symptoms can interfere with normal, everyday activities, such as going to school or work, hygiene, eating and sleeping.

While many of the typical signs are geared toward non-tech sort of folks, I've modified them to reflect the typical geek behaviors in mind. i.e. burying yourself in work until the project is finally fraking done.

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, user groups, IRC, online social media
  • Pushing/ driving away friends and family, sometimes by being excessively mean and aggressive
  • Increasing alcohol/ drug use
  • Insomnia or sleeping all of the time, early morning wakefulness (i.e. up at 3am when your alarm is set for 8am and you're unable to get back to sleep)
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Increased difficulty concentrating/ completing tasks, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Lack of interest leading to not participating in activities/ projects/ events you know you usually enjoy
  • Fatigue, decreased energy
  • Unexplained aches and pains, typically back pain
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "lack" of feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or persistent pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritable, restless
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.



  • Take a break
    • We often lose track of time when working on an interesting project or coming close to the deadline or "oh, wait! just this one last thing!" However, all those logged hours- especially if spent indoors- can result in poor mental health. Lack of vitamin D (you know, from that big, light source in the sky), disturbed sleep cycles, stress (often referred to as the silent killer), etc.
  • Tell someone and/ or check in with your community.
    • Pretending to be something other than yourself is exhausting.
    • We love you, quirks and all. Finding a community, where you are accepted and appreciated, is extremely important to mental health.
    • Befrienders International has centers run by trained volunteers and offer a service that is free, non-judgmental and completely confidential. Befriending can be done via phone, email, snail mail, or face-to-face.
    • Bluehackers' objective is "to make visible that there are many fellow geeks among us who are intimately familiar with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. It helps to know you’re not alone. And it’s not because we’re geeks, but because we’re human."
  • Exercise: This requires more than your many trips to the coffee machine and subsequent runs to the bathroom. Try to get in at least 30- minutes/ day- even if that's just angrily pacing around the room having imaginary arguments with your project manager.

Professional Organizations:

Through Clinical Tools, Inc., provides simple, coordinated, easily available education to individuals and organizations.

  • LivingWorks is an organization dedicated to enhancing suicide intervention skills at the community level, and does so with widely-available suicide prevention training programs designed for all types of caregivers.

The Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk: Essential Skills for Clinician (RRSR) program is the 2-day interactive training workshop designed for mental health clinicians and facilitated by AAS' own master trainers.

Who to Call:

  • Mental Health Call Center and Crisis Line
    • Hours: 24/7
    • Contact: 503-988-4888
    • Services:
      • Crisis Counseling by phone, with translation services for non-English speakers
      • Mobile crisis outreach for in-person assessment
      • Referral to low-cost or sliding-scale agencies
      • Help finding mental health providers, including those who have culturally linguistically specific services
      • Information about non-crisis community resources

  • Portland Women’s Crisis Line
    • Hours: 24/7
    • Contact: 503-235-5333

  • Adult Protective Services
    • Services: 24/7 phone and mobile assistance.
    • Note: Even if you call to report a friend in danger, who then recants wanting to injure themselves, continue calling whenever you feel that friend is in imminent danger. This keeps them on the APS "radar," which may result in the friend being taken to the hospital for professional help.

  • American Association of Suicidology
    • Contact: (202) 237-2280
    • Address: 4201 Connecticut Ave. N.W. Washington, DC 20008 view map
    • Service: The American Association of Suicidology provides a list of crisis and suicide response centers nationwide

  • Oregon Partnership: Suicide Intervention
    • Contact: (800) 273-TALK (8255)
    • Services: Oregon Partnership crisis workers answer calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-TALK, and the Hopeline Network at 800-SUICIDE
    • Hours: 24/7

  • Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare
    • Central Intake: (503) 674-7777
    • Urgent Care Walk In Clinic 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. everyday, (503) 238-0705, 2415 SE 43rd Ave.
    • Integrated Treatment Services (drug/alcohol) (503) 230-9654

  • Portland Veterans Center
    • Service: PTSD and sexual trauma counseling (individual & group), employment services, and more.
    • (503) 273-5370

Books to Further Understanding:

  • Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It (2003) J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D
  • The Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the John Hopkins Hospital presents a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to depression, including the latest research in brain chemistry, psychology and pharmacology.
  • An Unquiet Mind: A memoir of moods and madness (1997) Kay Redfield JamisonDual
    • From the perspective from a psychiatric expert in manic depression and a sufferer of the disease.
    • General Grief

Other resources:

  • Psych Central - a central source for information on psychology and mental health on the Internet, since 1992

For the Suicide Survivors:


  • Portland Veterans Center: (503) 273-5370, (503) 220-8262 (Admin.), (800) 949-1004 (Toll-free)
    • Address: 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Rd, PO Box 1034, Portland, OR 97207
    • Service: Mental health and general medical services for veterans. Free transportation available for disabled veterans with no other transportation resources.
  • - The webpage of Jenna LeJeune, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist. Dr. LeJeune specializes in evidence-based psychotherapy for trauma, relationship issues, eating disorders, and other issues with expertise in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
  • Portland Psychotherapy - clinic specializing in using evidence-based approaches to therapy and counseling in Portland, for a variety of psychological problems and life difficulties.
  • Oregon Department of Human Services - Phone: (503) 945-5651.Includes services such as: Child Protective Services, Addiction Services, Developmental Disabilities Services, Senior Services,Mental Health Services, and Oregon State Hospital

LGBTQ Resources:

  • SMYRC - Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center - offers counseling for queer or questioning youth age 14-24 in Portland, OR.
  • Quest Center for Integrative Health - offers acupuncture, mental health, addictions, exercise, and mentoring programs.
  • Q Center is Portland LGBTQ community center

Books for the Survivors:

  • A Guide For The Bereaved Survivor (1999) Robert Baugher, Ph. D. & Marc Calija
    • A list of reactions, suggestions and steps for coping with grief
  • After a Suicide (2001) Dougy Center
    • A workbook for grieving children.
  • After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief (2009) Bob Baugher, Ph.D., and Jack Jordan, Ph.D.
    • Available through American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
    • This excellent handbook is organized chronologically, around the first days, weeks, and months of a suicide loss. It includes straightforward information about psychiatric disorders, and when to seek professional help, as well as practical strategies for coping and healing.
  • After Suicide: A Ray of Hope for Those Left Behind (2002) Eleanora Betsy Ross
    • Emphasizes finding opportunities for personal growth after the tragedy of suicide loss.
  • Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love (2005) David B. Biebel & Suzanne L. Foster
    • A practical guide for surviving that includes some stories; a faith-affirming resource
  • Grieving a Suicide: A loved one's search for comfort , answers & hope (2009) Albert Y. Hsu
    • The author relates his own coping of his father's unexpected violent suicide and examines the theological and and emotional issues of suicide.
  • Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One (1993) Ann Smolin and John Guinan
    • So many survivors struggle with wondering, “why?” and “what if?” This book contains case studies together with advice, to help survivors begin to heal.
  • How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies (1991) Therese A. Rando, Ph.D.
    • Surviving the pain of the loss of a loved one.
  • How To Survive The Loss Of A Love (1993) Colgrove, Bloomfield & McWilliams
    • Simply written advice and affirmations that are divided into 94 points.
  • I was a Suicide Attempter (2009) Susan Gratton
    • A story written by the author in her twenties to shed light on why may attempt to take their own life, what they feel, perceive, and desire. A down to earth book written to enlighten those who do not understand suicide
  • I Will Not Leave You Desolate (1994) Martha Whitmore Hickman
    • Easy to read, easy to understand
  • Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans (2000) Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., Amy Alexander
    • One of the few books about suicide and mental health problems within the African-American community.
  • Life: A guide to suicide prevention (2009) Finley Sizemore PhD, Myra Kamran PhD, Angela J Perez PhD
    • A handbook for helping those who are struggling with suicide.
  • Living With Grief After Sudden Loss (1996) Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D.
    • After sudden loss, suicide, homicide, accident, heart attack, stroke
  • Meditations for Survivors of Suicide (2002) Joni Woelfel
    • A spiritual journey that flows from the heart of a mother that refuses to be crushed by the suicide of her son.
  • Mourning, After Suicide (2004) Lois A. Bloom
  • My Son...My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss or Suicide (1985) Iris Bolton and Curtis Mitchell
    • A mother’s account of her progression through the grief process after the suicide of her 20-year old son.
  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide (2000) Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.
    • Weaving together an in-depth psychological and scientific exploration of the subject, this book traces the network of reasons underlying suicide, including the factors that interact to cause suicide, and the evolving treatments available from modern medicine. Includes a particular focus on suicide by adolescents and young adults.
  • No Time For Goodbyes (2006) Janice Harris Lord
  • Coping with sorrow, anger and injustice after suicide
  • No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One (1999) Carla Fine
    • Following the suicide of her husband, the author interviewed over 100 suicide survivors. She weaves their experiences into her book, creating a story of loss, grief, and survival.
  • Silent Grief: Living in the wake of suicide (2007) Christopher Lukas & Henry M. Seiden, Ph.D.
  • Suicide and its Aftermath: Understanding and Counseling the Survivors (1987) Edward Dunne, John McIntosh, and Karen Dunne-Maxim (Eds.)
    • This compilation of articles and essays captures various dimensions of the many different aspects of the experience of surviving after a suicide loss. Although written by and for professional counselors, it’s very readable for the general public.
  • Suicide Survivors’ Handbook — Expanded Edition (2000) Trudy Carlson
    • Providing specific suggestions and practical advice from other survivors, the author addresses the questions: Why? What about shame and guilt? How long does the pain last? What helps? How do you deal with others?
  • Suicide, Despair and Soul Recovery: Finding the light of God (2008) Ken Stifler
    • A spiritual approach to recovering from suicide by having a relationship with divine assistance through love and grace.
  • The Empty Chair: The Journey of Grief After Suicide (1999) Beryl Glover
    • The grief process as experienced by a variety of people dealing with different emotions following the suicide of a family member.
  • The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (2002) Andrew Solomon
    • Winner of the National Book award. A sufferer of chronic depression, Solomon shares his own story, while presenting the problem of depression in a broader social context.
  • The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal: Exploring the ten essential touchstones (undertanding your grief) (2009) Alan D. Wolfet, PhD
    • A workbook to help grievers explore 10 essential touchstones for discovering hope and healing.
  • Those they left behind: Interviews, stories, essays, poems by survivors of suicide (2006) Karen Mueller Bryson
    • Collection of interviews from survivors of suicide.
  • Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and hope for victims and survivor's of suicide (2009) Susan Titus Osborn, Karen L. Kosman, Jeenie Gordon
    • A book by three women who are uniquely effected by suicide, exploring the aftermath from a wide range of real life stories.
  • Touched by Suicide: Hope and healing after loss (2006) Michael F. Myers, Carla Fine
    • Loss of a loved one by suicide
  • Tragedy-Finding a Hidden Meaning: How to Transform Tragedies In Your Life Into Personal Growth (1997) Trudy Carlson
    • Stories from world literature, personal stories and Wisdom from major religions to help those who are growing through a loss.
  • Understanding and Preventing Suicide: The development of self-destructive patterns and how to alter them (2009) Kristine Bertini
    • Detailed work on the origins of suicide thought, with solutions on healing for the suicidal persona as well as for survivors at home and in the workplace.
  • Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It (2003) J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D
    • The Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the John Hopkins Hospital presents a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to depression, including the latest research in brain chemistry, psychology and pharmacology.
  • But I Didn't Say Goodbye: Helping Children and Families after a Suicide (2009) Barbara Rubel
    • Comprehensive workbook to help kids cope with suicide. Includes extensive list of resources; bibliography of books for children, teens, parents and professionals.
  • Chasing Death: Losing a child to suicide (2009) Jan Anderson
    • Loss of a son to suicide. The author's journey through the turmoil felt with the loss of a son.
  • Darkness Visible: A Memoir of madness (2007) William Styron
    • A powerful and moving first-hand account of what depression feels like to the sufferer.
  • Dying to be Free: A healing guide for families after suicide (2006) Beverly Cobain Beverly, Jean Larch
    • Personal stories and accounts from those who experienced loss of a loved one by suicide that provide deep insight into the confusion, fear and guilt experienced by family members.
  • An Unquiet Mind: A memoir of moods and madness (1997) Kay Redfield Jamison
    • Dual perspective from a psychiatric expert in manic depression and a sufferer of the disease
  • Aftershock: Help, Hope and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (2003) Candy Neely Arrington, David Cox
    • A book of recovery to provide support and encouragement for suicide survivors