One of the most beautiful things Jake left us here with were his journals.

We were able to see a little inside his mind and understand where he was in his mental health.

We wish we would have known and understood more. He was meditating, going through mental health therapy, doing things to benefit his mental health but we only saw what was on the surface.

One of the common questions that we get is: “My loved one’s mental health is suffering. What can I do?”

Our parents recently participated in the AFSP Out of The Darkness Overnight Walk in Boston and were touched by so many stories.

We’ve compiled a list of questions frequently asked, and we are certainly no experts and don’t claim to be. We simply want to lend a helping hand or want to help others that may be experiencing this or parents/loved ones that may be afraid to ask for help.

Q: As a parent, what are some of the signs/actions other parents or family can look for in their loved ones?

A: Some of the signs/actions to look for are personality change, manic behavior(extreme euphoria/extreme depression), withdrawn, social anxiety and talk of hopelessness.

Q: To parents that are dealing with children that have depression and anxiety- what advice do you have?

A: Get immediate medical/psychological support, be open to holistic alternatives, don’t be afraid to ask about their thoughts. Be objective and supportive, realizing mental health is no different than physical illness(we wouldn’t judge or condemn and physical illness.

Q: We were not educated on mental health and when to recognize mental health issues. As families, what can we do to enhance our lives when we realize we are suffering or our loved one is suffering from depression, anxiety, OCD, etc.?

A: First, acknowledgment in your or your loved one’s mental struggles. Educate yourself on mental health illnesses, treatments, therapies, and life style modifications. Talk to others to gain insight on this disease.

Q: How can we, as a community, enhance the lives of others by spreading awareness of suicide prevention and mental health, in your opinion?

A: We must openly talk and be open to discuss the mental health crisis in our own communities. Spreading the word and encouraging thought processes to change our perception regarding mental health, as in cancer has stages; the worst being a stage four. Bringing awareness and education can help people recognize the stages and many forms of mental health. We must be open to discuss the risks of suicide, not only with the public but also our loved ones. This could lead to the opportunity for more resources for people who are at that point so that they may be more inclined to seek help.

***For more information on how to help yourself and your loved ones, please visit The Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website here.