WHAM on depression. WHAM, or Whole Health Action Management, developed by SAMHSA-HRSA in the United States, is created by peers for peers suffering with depression and who’ve attempted suicide. It’s an innovative program that’s being used by CDRIN in Canada and is being incorporated into Canada’s provincial mental health care strategies.

WHAM includes 10 resiliency factors which are individually focused upon and then blended together to help a person’s whole being. These are: stress management, healthy eating, physical activity, restful sleep, service to others, support network, optimism based on positive expectations, cognitive skills to avoid negative thinking, spiritual beliefs and practices, and a sense of meaning and purpose. It’s a whole person approach based on the needs and wants of the people affected by depression. Typically there are 10 sessions. Then participants meet once a week for 8 weeks in a peer support group to discuss their progress implementing their personal whole health goals and plans.

What to do if you need help. There are many good groups that help people having suicidal thoughts. Here are a few:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Crisis Text Line: text ‘help’ to 741-741 This is open to people of all ages but was inspired by teens

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org

Talking about suicide is necessary. The benefits go beyond the person. It’s a societal movement towards positive change. Depression doesn’t discriminate. Like cancer, it can get anyone. It can kill. As suicide rates surge in the United States, Americans need to change tactics to deal with depression. The new integrated model like WHAM is peer designed and so has more relevance and ability to help someone who has attempted suicide, and can be adopted to any ethnic group. We need to save each other.