Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources from iAmSteveAustin.com

​Mental Health Resources


I was a pastor when I nearly died by suicide. As such, I'm incredibly passionate about supporting folks like me, who understand the daily struggle of living with mental illness.


Here's what I want you to know: mental WELLness is possible. 


It's not easy.


You're not going to take some magic Jesus pill and suddenly fix your life with the smoke and miracles of some religious shaman. 


But if you get honest and ask for help and follow the advice of your doctor and other mental health professionals, you can absolutely live a GREAT life.


Below, I've posted some of my favorite mental health/suicide prevention resources. 


If I can ever be of service to you, or you ever just want to share your story, please use the contact form below to reach me directly.


You are so loved,

Steve

From Pastor to a Psych Ward: Recovery from a Suicide Attempt is Possible, by Steve Austin

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From Pastor to a Psych Ward, by Steve Austin


From Amazon:


Steve Austin is a pastor who once attempted suicide because his brain has an illness, no different from heart disease or cancer. The stigma surrounding mental illness, especially in Christian communities, keeps people locked in prisons of shame, refusing to admit that they need help. Yes Christians can and do struggle with mental illness. People need to know that they are not alone, and you can still be a Christian and have a mental illness. Recovery from our darkest day is difficult, but Steve Austin is living proof that it is possible.

CXMH Podcast with Robert Vore and Dr. Holly Oxhandler

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CXMH Podcast


CXMH is a podcast at the intersection of faith & mental health, hosted by Robert Vore & Dr. Holly Oxhandler. We bring together faith leaders with mental health professionals for honest conversations.

Mental Health on The Mighty

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Mental Health on The Mighty


The Mighty is a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities. We have over 2 million registered users and are adding a new one every 20 seconds.

Our stories and videos are viewed and shared more than 90 million times a month.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Additional Resources

Contact Me Directly:

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Mental Health and Violence: The Truth

I cohost the CXMH Podcast, along with my friend and fellow mental health advocate, Robert Vore. This week, we’ve had the honor of sharing our perspective on mental health and violence with Charisma News and Relevant Magazine.

Mental Health and Violence: The Truth

“This is a mental health problem.”

Every time another tragic act of violence sweeps our country, some variation of this statement gets tossed around. In 2017 alone, there have been 385 shootings in which at least four people were injured or killed. In response, politicians and faith leaders alike shift the conversation toward mental health. Pat Robertson, for example, announced on his popular television programThe 700 Club that we need to investigate links between antidepressants and violence:

There’s got to be a thorough investigation into the effect of antidepressants … There’ve been so many of these mass killings and almost every one, as I said before, has had some nexus to antidepressants. So, we need to see what we are giving people.

The problem with statements like this? They’re wrong.

Doctors, psychiatrists and researchers have repeatedly stated there’s no evidence of a link between mental health medications and higher rates of violence.

Other statements from politicians and leaders are less specific, linking mental illness with violence and mass shootings overall. Again, the problem here is that there’s simply no basis for these claims.

The truth is, there are many people in church with you every week who are faithful followers of Christ and who also have a mental illness. People with mental illnesses are singing in your choir, teaching Sunday School, keeping your children in the nursery, sitting in the pew next to you and even preaching from your pulpits.

People with mental illness are real people with needs and burdens, as well as gifts and talents and love to offer God and church community. Most of us aren’t violent. Like you, we’re just looking for a safe space to lay down our burdens and find rest for our souls.

To read, “People Need to Stop Using Mental Illness as a Scapegoat for Violence,” click here.

And to read our article, “Dear Church, Stop Saying Violence Is a Mental Health Problem,” just click here.

For more on this very important topic, check out the latest episode of CXMH: A Podcast at the Intersection of Christianity and Mental Health.

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My Struggle with Bad Theology and Mental Health

The stigma surrounding mental health is worse in the church than just about anywhere else. The church lacks education and, unfortunately, compassion when it comes to those suffering with mental illness. Lack of compassion and education is met with an abundance of dangerous theology. What you’re left with is a poison that is literally killing weary travelers, seeking refuge.

Bad Theology and Mental Health

Today on The Preacher’s Forum Podcast, I have the honor of sharing my story of recovery from abuse and a suicide attempt, plus my frustration with the Christian Machine that continues to pummel people in the name of God.

Click here to check out my conversation with Clint Heacock and leave your thoughts in the comments!

If there’s going to be any hope for the church today, we’ve got to continue to have these vital conversations.

Listen now by clicking right here.

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How to Survive Marriage and Mental Health

My wife spent a week on a psych ward following the birth of our first son. She had a miserable fight with postpartum depression and sleep deprivation. One year later, nearly to the day, I landed in ICU and then a psych ward following a suicide attempt.

light-hands-water-river

Shortly after, our marriage nearly fell apart. She left for two weeks, and they were the saddest and scariest days of my life. Once she came home, we started intense marriage and individual therapy, laying all our cards on the table. It was now or never. Eventually, we both decided to stay, fully aware of what that meant.

The dust has settled on that hard season, and thankfully, our “crazy” mostly shows up on different days. I am not a professional therapist, but I have been both the one who needed support, and the one who was asked to support a struggling spouse. I am writing only from my own experience.

After living through it, here’s 6 ways to survive marriage and mental health:

1) Don’t just hope for the best. Do something.

When a friend confesses their marriage is unraveling, I immediately tell them, “Counseling saved our marriage and quite possibly my life.” The vast majority of the time, that statement is met with, “He would never go for that,” or “I’ll be praying about how to best approach that subject with her.”

Most folks do not like the idea of airing their dirty laundry to a complete stranger. I get it. Me too. All I can tell you is after walking through it, I am a firm believer in the safety and stability of talking with a legit professional on a consistent basis.

2) Stop trying to fix your spouse.

I am not my wife’s therapist and she isn’t mine. While we play a primary role in each other’s support systems, we are not professional helpers.

On the days when Lindsey comes home and finds the fog of depression lying low on the living room couch, she has learned to just say, “I’m sorry you’re having a tough day. I’m here if you need me.” It is not healthy for either of us personally, or for our marriage, for her to do any more than that. It isn’t her job to try and fix me or convince me that she’s going to be there for me. After all, she proves that by staying.

3) Talk about it with each other.

There is great power in being able to tell our stories, either to our partner, a counselor, or a trusted friend. Being able to name our pain, our struggles and frustrations, and even our greatest hopes is a catalyst toward true change.

There is a conventional wisdom that says not to go to bed angry. I disagree. Sometimes you go to bed with a hurt heart, with the full intention of waking up and talking about it once things settle down.

4) Know your limits.

In the Christian circles where I grew up, I often heard, “Stay because marriage is a sacred bond.” Or “God hates divorce.” In other circles, it seems just the opposite: that feelings trump commitment and if you aren’t happy, you are entitled to simply walk away, no questions asked.

I can no longer accept either approach as the only option. Each marriage is unique, especially where mental illness is concerned. You have to take a serious look at your situation, self, and sanity. Decide what is best for you, your spouse, and your children, if you have them. Sometimes the best way to love and honor everyone involved is to leave.

I don’t believe “When you have done all you can do, stand” is always the best advice. To the one suffering in silence with a mentally ill spouse, this kind of advice can feel like a death sentence. I have seen firsthand that separation or divorce is sometimes the next right step, and can breathe peace into a family.

5) Love beyond the labels.

The spouse of someone with a mental illness often suffers in silence. When your spouse can’t explain “why” normal life feels so hard, it is frustrating. We know their labels, we’ve read all about their symptoms. Labels are important from a medical standpoint, because they show professionals the best course of treatment. But labels in marriage are detrimental. Don’t become so stuck on them that you forget to love the person you married.

6) No more comparisons.

One of my favorite quotes by Brennan Manning says, “You can’t compare your insides with everyone else’s outsides.” Nobody has the perfect marriage. Let go of what you think it is supposed to be, and live in the relationship you actually have. Stop trying to have your friend’s marriage or mimic your parent’s relationship. Nobody has the magical romance they portray on Facebook, so shut that noise off.


If you are married to someone in danger, someone whose struggles make them a danger to themselves or others, here are some resources:


from pastor to a psych wardGet your copy of my brand-new book, “From Pastor to a Psych Ward: Recovery from a Suicide Attempt is Possible” today on Amazon for only $2.99!


*To read the original 11 Tips on Marriage and Mental Health on Morgan Guyton’s blog, just click here.

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Guns and Mental Health: A Deadly Combination

Preparing to die is surreal. I’m not sure how to even describe it. Imagine a dreamlike nightmare, something fantastically terrible. In some ways I felt like a marionette, watching my hands scribe the darkest words imaginable. I knew the choices I was making, yet it felt like my hands worked independent of my mind.

Why Guns and Mental Health are a Deadly Combination

I knew my death would hurt my family and friends. They’d be shocked and even miserable for a while. But life does go on. They would be okay without me.

If you have never lived through the hell of sleepless nights, been strangled by the cold hands of anxiety, you can’t understand why someone would want to die. You can’t possibly get it if you’ve never heard that scream-whisper of depression that rarely backs down, or felt the sting of worthlessness, no matter how hard you work.

Almost four years later, I thank God my life did not end on that terrible night. But I also realize how lucky I was. I simply chose the right (or wrong) method of dying. If I had bought a gun instead of pills, I would be dead. Thank God I had time, after trying to die, for someone to intervene.

Those who use guns to kill themselves are not that lucky. A gun is once and done. There is no backing down. There is no wondering if the drugs will do their job. There is no belt that might break, or airbag that might deploy. It’s a click and…you’re gone. According to The Trace, when a firearm is used in a suicide attempt, there’s an 85 percent chance of it being successful.

When a firearm is used in a suicide attempt, there's an 85% chance of it being successful.

Do you know that in Alabaster, Alabama, I can walk into the local gun shop and complete my purchase in a couple of minutes? All I need is a driver’s license or state-issued ID. Pass the call-in background check and you’re good to go.

No time to consider what I will do next. No reason to wait at all.  

For desperate people, that is a quick path to relief. Even if someone has been diagnosed with mental illness for years, suicide is often an impulsive act. And the people who say someone cannot be talked out of attempting suicide are wrong. Dead wrong.

In countless cases that I know personally, if someone had intervened on their day of desperation, they might not have attempted. If someone had interrupted the suicidal person the day of their attempt, it could have changed everything. If there was just a 24-hour waiting period, even, it could change the course of a person’s life.

But at this point, in my town, there is no waiting.

I’m not against guns. I grew up with them. One of my earliest memories is of being “wowed” by my Grandpa’s collection of shotguns and rifles. My dad is an avid hunter and every fall and winter, we fill our freezer with the spoils of his hunting trips.

I’m not anti guns, but I am pro-safety. I remember taking my handgun and shotgun to my parents’ house when Lindsey was hospitalized with postpartum depression. I feared for her safety and I couldn’t imagine tiny baby boy growing up without a mom. In time, we brought them back to our house.

A year later, when I was released from the hospital after my suicide attempt, I remember noticing the guns were suddenly gone again. I felt humiliated, but somehow I knew it was the right decision. I was too fragile and unpredictable during that time. And I also knew just how loved I was. I was wanted.

The guns have never returned.

Around here, the popular saying is, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” But hurting and desperate people with guns do kill themselves. Regularly.

According to the CDC:

  • In 2013, suicide by guns totaled 21,175. That’s more than half of all suicides that year.
  • Suicide accounts for more than two-thirds of the 32,000 firearms deaths the United States averages every year.
  • Suicide is the second-most common cause of death for Americans between 15 and 34

According to an article by the Washington Post, in the 1993-1994 election cycle, the NRA spent $2.3 million. In the 2011-2012 election cycle, they spent $24.8 million. As long as the NRA owns the House and Senate, gun laws will not change.

But it’s time to do more than offer thoughts, prayers, and moments of silence. Something has to change or we are going to continue to lose fathers and mothers, pastors and teachers, children, and grandparents.

I’m not anti-guns. I’m anti-desperate people with guns.

*Get your copy of my brand-new book, “From Pastor to a Psych Ward: Recovery from a Suicide Attempt is Possible” today!


Want to get involved? Here’s a few ways you can help:

  1. Check out The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
  2. Contact your Congressman and let them know you want a mandatory waiting period at the point of sale for all new gun purchases.

Need to talk to someone? Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


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If You’re Tired of Living, Listen to This Story First

I was a pastor when I nearly died by suicide. But wanting to die didn’t happen overnight.

In fact, I was first introduced to shame when I was just a preschooler. Recovery from childhood sexual abuse didn’t even begin until after I woke up in an ICU hospital room, after I tried to die by suicide.

It was my honor to share my story with a brand-new podcast, “Instructions for Living a Life.” If you’re tired of living, or love someone who struggles with their own mental health, I strongly encourage you to listen to my conversation with Chrisie and Adam.

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Pastors and Suicide: What Should I Know?

What do I Need to Know about Pastors and Suicide?

California has mourned the deaths by suicide of two beloved pastors in under six months. Although tragic and sad, the deaths of Pastors Jim Howard and Andrew Stoecklein leave many people—especially within the church—wondering what happened.

The recent deaths also point to the need for mental health care within the church. What can the church do to help?

Thankfully, the editor of the SoCal Christian Voice reached out to me for some perspective.

Click here to read my candid responses to these very important questions.