Writer Joel L. Daniels shares his powerful story of how the Suicide Prevention Lifeline saved his life
via Business Insider

The United States' suicide rate was at its highest since World War II before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Lawmakers and health experts worry that the intense economic and social pressures that have resulted from the pandemic will exacerbate this problem even further.

One of the most effective ways that people suffering from suicidal ideation and psychological distress can get immediate help is by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). This call center provides free, confidential emotional support form trained experts and volunteers.

It's an easy way to get help without having to wait. Ninety-seven percent of all calls are picked up within 75 seconds of the initial phone greeting.


Every year, the lifeline helps over a million people, 25% of whom are in suicidal distress. Author Joel L. Daniels is one of the lifeline's many success stories. His experience saved his life, so he's created a video to let people know how it can save theirs, too.

Instead Of Killing Myself, I Called A Suicide Hotline www.youtube.com

"I don't use that phrase like it saved my life, um gingerly, but I mean that suicide hotline phone call, it saved my life," Daniels says in the video.

Daniels was riding the bus in New York City when he began to feel "crazy." He was in a panic, wanted to take his clothes off, jump off the bus, and was seriously considering harming himself.

He reached out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and immediately felt "affirmed" by his counselor.

"I just felt overwhelmed and busy between work, between life, between fatherhood, between not really knowing what I was doing and in that moment it felt like it was going to be easier to not be here," he says.

The counselor listened to Daniels without judgment and told him he was going to be okay.

via Unsplash

"Listening without judgement, without bias, without prejudice," he continued. "That suicide hotline phone calls saved my life and I wish I could remember the sister's name, who I spoke to because she was so warm. She was so loving. She was so comforting. She sounded like a black auntie."

The counselor allowed Daniels space to vent which was exactly what he needed.

"It was less questions and more affirming," he continued. "It was just something I needed and I don't know if anybody else does because there's that level of shame you feel essentially when you're trying to tell a person that you care about that I essentially want to harm myself because then it's very easy, unfortunately, for people who do know you to start blaming themselves."

He says he was able to make it through the episode because he was given the opportunity to speak his mind without worring about bias, fear, or judgment. The "the suicide hotline did that for me for sure," he says.

Daniels is grateful that he was given the space to clear his mind during a traumatic episode and hopes that others in the same situation will take advantage of the opportunity the lifeline provides as well.

"I feel like it's kind of my duty to kind of share that with other people," he concludes the video.

If you are experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential emotional support at 1-800-273-8255 (Veterans, press 1).

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.