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After a crisis

After a crisis

Postvention deals with the aftermath of a crisis and how to help you or a person you care about feel safe and re-engage life after a difficult experience. This page outlines the resources that are available to you at Augustana College postvention. The goals of postvention should always be specific to the individual, but some general guidelines of postvention are (1) to help those impacted by crisis deal with the lingering effects, (2) to develop community supports, and (3) to reduce the risk of future crises:

  • Facilitate the adjustment process;
  • Stabilize the environment;
  • Reduce the risk of negative behaviors;
  • Limit the risk of future crisis (HEMHA, Postvention).


Sections 

The following links will help you navigate the postvention services offered to you at Augustana College.

Buddy system
Peer support groups
Therapeutic group discussions
Support from the Residential Life Office
Support from Student Counseling Services
Other resources for postvention and burnout

Buddy system

It is important to connect with someone when you start to feel distress, as friends can provide the support and comfort you cannot give yourself. After a crisis, you may be encouraged to identify a “buddy” in your friend network who you are comfortable reaching out to when you are distressed. This “buddy” will meet with the Director of Student Well-Being and Resiliency and will help you reconnect with your support network.

Peer support groups

Peer support groups are run by students for students. The purpose is to develop natural relationships in a space disconnected from procedural or professional interactions. In this way, peer support is about overcoming a shared challenge together and building informal bonds with others. When asked to describe the benefits of peer support groups, participants in a study done by Hirsch Mental Health Services reported the following outcomes:

  • Connecting with peers with similar lived experiences
  • Letting go of a sense of failure
  • Getting a sense of belonging
  • Building trust
  • Having a place of “no shame”
  • Letting go of labels
  • Finding self-acceptance
  • Developing a sense of hope

There are two major peer support groups on campus: NAMI and Active Minds. Below is a description of each group, including times for meetings as well as a link to a list of support groups in the community. If you would like to develop a peer support group around a specific issue, student counseling services (SCS) would gladly partner with you. Please, email SCS at studentcounselingservices@augustana.edu to begin the conversation. Here is a link to a resource on creating peer support groups from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Augie NAMI

Augie NAMI is a student-led campus club that supports student mental health through peer support and raises mental health awareness through education and advocacy on campus. The purpose of Augie NAMI is to help students feel mentally and emotionally well during their time at Augustana College, serving as a first-step for students to talk (or not) and learn from their peers.

Augie NAMI is open to all students, no matter where they stand on their journey. Meetings are a safe place to share, learn, and take a break from the stresses of college life. All conversations are welcomed. Support often centers on the difficult transition to college, different coping skills, time and stress management, and working through dilemmas that members share. 

Augie NAMI is a support group in is purest form. Board members all have personal mental health experiences and are passionate about supporting students struggling to understand what they are feeling.

If you think Augie NAMI is for you, please come to a weekly hour-long meeting. Augie NAMI can also help guide you through mental health services. Remember Augie NAMI is here for you: come stop by a meeting, stay, hangout, bring some friends, talk, don't talk—whatever you want. Whoever you are, wherever you stand, Augie NAMI is here for you. 

Meeting time for Fall Semester 2019-20: Mondays 5-6 p.m. in Olin 304

Active Minds

Active Minds empowers students to speak openly about mental health by raising awareness and encourage help-seeking. Active Minds strives to change the aspects of Augustana College’s culture that stop students from seeking help by providing information, leadership opportunities, and advocacy training. 

Through campus-wide events and national programs, Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, creating a comfortable environment to have an open conversation about mental health and the resources available to students. 

The local chapter of Active Minds performs weekly events to raise awareness and get mental health resources into the hands of all students. Notifications of upcoming events are emailed out regularly. 

Support groups

This link lists all the different support groups available in the community and beyond. The support groups on this page are alphabetized by area of concern.

Therapeutic group discussions

Often, the best postvention is a group of people talking about what they experienced and how they are different now. Of course, this is something you could do on your own, but if you would like counseling staff to facilitate the discussion, please email us at studentcounselingservices@augustana.edu, and we will work with you to find a time and place where you and your peers can have a meaningful discussion about the crisis and the aftermath. These discussions are therapeutic in nature, though not therapy. As a result, confidentiality around the group discussion is strongly encouraged after the meeting from all participants, unless the person opens up to you or continues the discussion later.

Support from the Residential Life Office

The Office of Residential Life is prepared to assist students as they re-engage with the community after a personal crisis. Please reach out to your Community Advisor, Resident Director or Area Coordinator when you return to campus. All of our staff are certified in mental health first aid and are ready to be good non-judgmental listeners for all students.

Support from Student Counseling Services

Student counseling services offers brief and long-term individual therapy, group therapy, and well-being workshops regularly. To schedule an appointment, please email cherimizuar@augustana.edu, email studentcounselingservices@augustana.edu, call 309-794-7357, or walk-in Founders 206.

For more information, please visit the counseling process to learn more about counseling services at Augustana College.

Self-help resources for postvention, burnout and compassion fatigue

While community support is the foundation of Augustana College’s postvention, there are also several resources you can use to help you adjust to your experiences and improve your safety. Below are links to different self-help and postvention resources. There are also resources on burnout, vicarious traumatization (experiencing trauma-like symptoms from handling another person’s trauma or hearing about trauma), and compassion fatigue (losing the ability to empathize or care about people due to being in a helper role).

What Happens Now?
A website for dealing with the aftermath of suicidal thoughts and actions

Addicted to Busy
A workbook on burnout prevention

Overcoming Burnout in 30 Days
An e-book on burnout

Peer Support Compassion Fatigue
A workbook from Veterans' Affairs on peer support compassion fatigue

Vicarious Trauma and Self-Care Tool Kit
Tool kit on self-care as a result of secondary traumatic stress

Recovery-Oriented Crisis Services
A presentation on crisis and how to help yourself and others after a crisis

A Guide for College Students with Psychiatric Disabilities
A website for mental health disorders and their accommodations in college

JED Foundation Mental Health Resource Page
A website with a variety of resources related to mental health

Self-help
A repository of self-help interventions

Coping with Suicide intensity

The way we talk about suicide has become prejudicial in a lot of ways. Using words like “attempt,” “completed suicide,” or “ideation” speak to the legal implications of suicide and often leave out all the other deeply personal aspects of someone who is thinking of dying by suicide or who has tried to die by suicide. As a result, we use the term suicide intensity as a way to talk about all the different, thoughts, feelings, and actions that occur over time for someone who is thinking of dying by suicide.

Peer Support

A lot of people who are coping with suicide intensity find it helpful to listen and read to those who have tried to die by suicide and survived. Live through this is a collection of stories, interviews, and portraits of people who survived trying to die by suicide. What Happens Now is a similar site, though you have to sign up to access the stories. 

You may also find a support group healing for someone who tried to die by suicide or who has loss someone to suicide

Dealing with a Sudden Urge to Die: Stop, Drop, and Roll

When suicide intensity is at its highest, these acts have shown to reduce the impulse to die:

1. Jump, splash, or dunk yourself in cold water

Cold water has the effect of clearing our minds and inducing the mammalian dive reflex; anything you can do to have cold water touch your skin (shower, bath, splash on your face) can help slow the impulse to die

2. Go lie down

Lying down can slow the urge to die, as we often do less when we are lying down.

3. Gaze into the eyes of someone you trust

Finding someone to look in the eyes, even without words, can slow the urge to die, especially if it is someone with which you have a trusting, personal relationship.

Bibliotherapy

Coping with suicide intensity is hard. It can sometimes come as relieve to know that you are not alone and to feel the compassion of others, even strangers, through their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences of suicide. The following books come highly recommended for people who are thinking about dying by suicide or who have loved-ones who are thinking about dying by suicide. 

How I Stayed Alive when me Brain was Trying to Kill Me by Susan Rose Blauner

Must be Witches in the Mountains by Heidi Bryan

Waking up Alive by Richard Heckler

Cracked, not Broken: Surviving and Thriving after a Suicide Attempt by Kevin Hines

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

This is how it Feels: A Memoir of Attempting Suicide and Finding Life by Craig Miller

The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon

•  Seduction of Suicide: Understanding and Recovering from Addiction to Suicide by Kevin Taylor

Thinking about Suicide: Contemplating and Comprehending the Urge to Die by David Webb

Waking Up: Climbing through the Darkness by Terry Wise

Warm lines

A warm line is a telephone number for someone who is not in active crisis but wants to talk to a peer with lived experience in coping with mental health. Warm lines are typically staffed by peers, not professionals:

Illinois Warm Line: 866-359-7953
Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Iowa Warm Line: 844-755-WARM (9276)

Reducing Access to Lethal Means

One of the best ways to keep yourself or a loved-one safe is to reduce access to lethal means. Many acts of suicide occur with little planning. As a result, it is important to reduce access to lethal means when suicide intensity is strong. Reducing access to lethal means can be a temporary or long-term solution. There are many different ways to reduce access to lethal means like locking up a gun, keeping sharp objects at a friend’s house, asking your medical provider to reduce the number of pills you are prescribed at once. Means matter, and we highly recommend learning more about ways to reduce access to lethal means.