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Archive for help

IMAlive: online 24hr crisis center

So I’m really sad that IMAlive is something that I am just learning about and I’m sure that many you, my wonderful readers may not have heard of it either. IMAlive is still in the works but when it launches, it will be the first live online crisis network. IMAlive will be a 24 hour, 7 day a week internet help line. When launched, anyone can log on and chat live with a certified volunteer, through instant messaging.

“The terror of picking up the phone to call a hotline not knowing who will answer you prevents you from doing so,” the site reads. “Or, even if you have the courage to pick up the phone, the sound of the person’s voice scares you and you hang up. We know this happens because over 30% of all people who call our hotlines do just that—they hang up as soon as they hear the human voice.

More importantly, we recognize the technological age we find ourselves in today and we know that millions of people in crisis will never pick up the phone. We believe that IMAlive is part of the solution to the problem.”

IMAlive is a revolutionary idea as it brings the help right into your living room. Through partnership with To Write Love on Her Arms, PostSecret, and the Question, Persuade, and Refer Institute, which provides training and certification of volunteers, The Kristin Brooks Hope Center plans to launch IMAlive.

Originally set to launch in 2010, IMAlive is innovative in the way it plans to offer these services. Instead of hired hands to work the online help network, IMAlive is seeking volunteers from all over the U.S. and Canada. IMAlive allows real people, who are passionate about helping others become a part of the solution.

The criteria for volunteering includes:

• A genuine desire and willingness to help people in need
• At least 18 years old (*16 with parents notarized consent)
• Must have reliable Internet access
• Must complete at least 50 hours training and a series of tests and screenings.
• Must be willing to commit to responding four hours a week for one year. Or can commit to responding eight hours a week for six months.

There is, however a $250 cost combined with becoming a volunteer. The fee goes to training necessary to properly deal with people in crisis situations. So far, there are only 60 (!) trained and certified volunteers so if this is something you feel you want to do and are able to handle, SIGN UP PLEASE. I know I will be very soon.

IMAlive allows its volunteers to set up a personal page in which they can solicit donations for their fee, so if the fee scares you from signing up, don’t let it. It’s possible to fundraise the entire thing.

I personally cannot wait until this online community is launched. IMAlive has the potential to change and SAVE so many lives. It allows survivors to help others and those in need to find a solace where people truly understand their struggle. If this is something you are passionate about, if you have the resources, please donate to the cause. It’s already behind on its launch date, LET’S HELP IT GET OFF THE GROUND! This is something that people need and the sooner, the better.

Along with its own merchandise, To Write Love on Her Arms is selling IMAlive shirts which the proceeds will go to the launch of IMAlive.                                                    

The back is the lyrics to “Go” by Boys Like Girls :]

If you’re a twitter fiend, follow the movement: @_IMAlive

As promised, my quote of the day is:
“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

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Late V-Day :{

Firstly I want to start this post off with an apology.

I haven’t been posting like I wanted and I’m not giving this blog the attention I hoped to. I started this for a class and but I have hopes for this blog to be so much more. I’ve given up any prospects of winning my teacher’s ‘best post of the week’ because the subject that I chose to write on is for a very specific audience and not something everyone enjoys. I’m okay with that though. I write for my readers, the few of them that I have right now. I write for those who feel alone.  I write for those with a story to share. I write for those like me. I will post more and I hope you keep reading.

Even though I’m totally late and Valentine’s Day was two days ago, I know that that particular holiday can be especially painful for some. When some many of us have felt an empty space inside, devoid of any affection, a holiday all about lovers and love can be difficult to bear. The effects of Valentine’s Day sometimes linger way past Feb. 14.

On the blog of To Write Love on Her Arms, a national organization aimed at suicide prevention and awareness, a letter or “a vulnerable note written to today’s strange pink holiday” was posted and written on Valentine’s Day by TWLOHA’s founder Jamie Tworkowski. The letter was a heartfelt goodbye to all of the pain and loneliness associated with being alone on Valentine’s Day.

“To make a long story short, I think I’ve given you way too much power.  I let you scare me and I let you name me and I let you tell me what I’m worth.

I don’t want to do that anymore.”

In truth the post made me cry because it spoke the words I haven’t been able to formulate myself. It was like reading a page from my own heart.  I hope that it touches you like it touched me and I also hope that you will explore TWLOHA and what its site has to offer. Tworkowski is a powerful man. He came to Central Michigan last spring I got to hear him speak. Some of my friends got up and left because they found it boring but his story was so honest and his passion for his cause is so organic, it made a left an imprint on me. I’ve been attached to TWLOHA ever since.

If you ever feel ready to end it all and get sick of the pain, please make this call:

National suicide help lines

*1-800-SUICIDE

*1-800-237-TALK

You don’t have to suffer alone.

I also found a website that will allow you to look up any crisis centers in any state, just in case you feel more comfortable talking to someone closer to home.

Finally, I’ve decided that I will end each post with a quote, something that moves me or something I find worthy of sharing. This quote comes straight from TWOLHA’s twitter feed and it reads:

“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals…” -Unknown

Self-injury.net: forum for empathy

Like I said previously, anything that I post on this blog, I hope to be a resource to those seeking help. While looking for sites and forums to add to my Google reader, I stumbled upon a discussion blog website called self-injury.net. The blog was started by a girl named Gabrielle who is a self mutilator herself.

“My name is Gabrielle and I am twenty-six years old. I hurt myself for nearly nine years. This website was made to let self-injurers know that they are not alone and to help their friends and family,” the site reads.

Anyone can join the site, but you can also post video, photos, literature, etc without joining the online
community. It’s just a place for those who seek some guidance and friendship can find it in those who have been there.

The saddest and most uplifting comment from the site was a reply to a post from a user NotQuiteNormal. The user was asking if anyone else has tried to commit suicide, as she has tried nine times since age 11. The reply, that resonated with me, was from an anonymous user.

“I’ve never tried, but it’s something that I think about,” the user wrote. “I know HOW I’d do it but I don’t think I ever could go through with it. The main thing that’s kept me from considering it too much is (and this is going to sound stupid) my 4-year-old kitty Trevor. He’s always there for me and I could never leave him. I’ve been told that when I leave for more than 3 days he get really depressed and spends all his time trying to find me. I just couldn’t do that to him. As long as he’s around life is worth living.”

The reply I guess really stuck with me because something so small as a cat, that can’t even speak and offer words of encouragement, can be the one thing that saves someone’s life. The one thing that keeps a person from going over the edge. That speaks a lot about the human condition and how all people ever want to feel is love. This also speaks to how much weight our words and actions hold with other people. You never know what others are going through and the difference a smile, hello or hug can make in someone’s day and life.

I am not, nor ever have been a cutter or have had issues with self injury however, 3 of my closest friends have been and it is painful for everyone involved. If someone has the guts to share their story with you, please be understanding.

To end my post, I thought I would share two youtube videos of some individual stories. The videos aren’t anything fancy, just photos and music but, these people were brave enough to open themselves up to the world and one even showed her face. I hope you enjoy and understand that without seeing and talking about the problem, it can never be fixed.

*WARNING-WARNING-WARNING* These videos may be trigger so PLEASE VIEW CAUTIOUSLY!

The last thing I want to do is cause any of my readers to relapse.

PostSecret

I have always wanted to be a blogger. I have just never truly had the initiative to finally get one off the ground. This semester two of my journalism classes have blogging as required assignments and finally I am forced into it. Don’t take that the wrong way however, when I say “forced”. It’s still a good thing because Lord knows how long it would have been until I jumped on the bandwagon. Now this also means I am obligated to keep up regular posts until it becomes a natural part of my daily routine. Since blogging is not an integral part of the journalism world, it’s time for me to step into the 21st century.

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I’ll start off by sharing something very near and dear to my heart: PostSecret.

For those who are unfamiliar with PostSecret, it has been an ongoing project started by Frank Warren in 2005 where people mail in anonymous homemade postcards containing secrets.

Every Sunday, Frank posts a new set of Secrets to his blog for the reading and commenting pleasure of fans. PostSecret is also a traveling art exhibit where thousands of received postcards are displayed in art museums across the country for patrons to come and view. PostSecret cards have also been published into several compilation books based on different topics such as God, Death, and Life or The Secret Lives of Men and Women which can be bought at any local Borders bookstore or Amazon.com.

Many find PostSecret a safe haven to share things they have never spoken of or shared with anyone else. I myself have never sent in a secret. I’m too afraid someone, somewhere will know it was me. I truly admire the courage it takes to the thousands that have shared their stories with Frank and the world.

One of the many post cards Frank Warren receives daily for the PostSecret community art project.

Enjoy the new Sunday secrets posted here: http://www.postsecret.com/

Can’t get enough of PostSecret? Check out the archive dating back to 2005: http://postsecretarchive.com/