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Mental health an issue for everyone

Having mental health issues is nothing to be ashamed about, but it needs to be addressed.

Everybody goes through struggles, but sometimes those struggles can appear to be overwhelming, with no way out.

The Marquette area has faced several local young deaths in recent weeks, one of which was a high school student who took his own life following a “cybersextortion” incident.

This sort of incident happens when a predator gains the trust of someone online and, through various means, extorts them by demanding they send money in exchange for not posting what the victim would consider to be incriminating information.

Even if such a situation is not the case, teens — and even adults — face daily challenges. Some of those challenges, unfortunately, are exacerbated by an underlying mental illness that might not have been diagnosed.

Helping people before a problem gets out control, sometimes permanently, is crucial in the battle against mental illness. Friends and loved ones, though, don’t always know a person is suffering, so it’s important they learn to pick up on various signs, such as losing interest in activities, becoming withdrawn and other factors.

It’s also important that people who are have mental and emotional issues know there are people and places that can help them.

Here are a few resources available to help individuals struggling with thoughts of suicide or other mental issues:

≤ The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255

≤ Suicide Prevention Resource Center, sprc.org

≤ OK2SAY, bit.ly/3IPqeP2, which includes tips to avoid sexting and sextortion from the Cyberbullying Research Center

≤ Dialing 2-1-1

College students who are away from home also can get the help they need, although some individuals probably believe more can be done.

According to the Northern Michigan University website at nmu.edu, individual and group mental health counseling is free to enrolled students, with consultation also free to the campus community. The website contains the Student Guide to Counseling and Consultation Services, which is geared toward students questioning whether NMU services are right for them, advising students on how they can make the most of their counseling experience, and informing members of the NMU community — who are concerned about a student — how they can make a referral or obtain a consultation.

When it comes to mental illness, it seems resources never are enough in some cases. Of course, they can help, and can be the literal difference between life and death.

Although it is fading, the stigma of mental illness still exists, and people should be able to be forthright about battling it.

Good mental health benefits not only the affected individuals but their families, friends, co-workers and the entire community.

Let’s do all we can to make this possible.

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