Friends For Life Forum, Meet-Up & Safe Space

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All Are Welcome: Member or Warrior, So Glad You’re Here! 

You’re probably wondering what Friends For Life is, but before we jump into that, we do want to make sure it’s 100% clear that while we hope you’ll read on and consider becoming our NEXT FRIENDS FOR LIFE WARRIOR it is far from a requirement to sign-up for your free and anonymous account. If you’re not sure about Friends For Life, but you do want to be able to post in the forum, join special-interest groups, or attend events (plenty of which are not Friends For Life-specific), the best place to start is to press the “login in” button at the top right of the screen (in dropdown menu on mobile). Joining as a member has nothing to do with committing to Friends For Life: you can sign up in less than one minute, you can choose a non-identifying username is wish to remain anonymous, you can of course delete your account at any time, and the only “price of admission” for access to our forum (where you can comment on any current thread or start a thread entirely of your own), our blog, our educational materials, our resources, our special-interest groups (open to all and if you can’t find one that matches your interest start your own!), or attend our upcoming events (which includes the ability for video conferencing of up to 30 people at a time for lectures, group meetings, social hours, and more), is your agreement to our Terms, Privacy Policy and Code of Conduct regarding the dignified, respectful and supportive treatment of your peers in this peer-based support youth mental health gatekeeping community! What are you waiting for, we can’t wait to meet you and get to know you via your comment in the forum, at a meeting on video conferencing, or feel free to reach out to us one-on-one via private chat with feedback, questions, etc.! See you inside?

The Forum's  Latest Content, Posts, Events and More!
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This Forum, Our Mission, & Friends For Life:

Why have we centered this forum around our proprietary Friends For Life model? In short, we believe it can be a game changer, but it isn't our model that is going to alleviate this crisis: IT’S ALL OF YOU. Our model's true power lies in what this GENERATION OF YOUTH IS CAPABLE OF WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY and PROPER TOOLS! We provide the framework, resources, and tools to assist, but ultimately, the model is unique and will succeed because it RECOGNIZES THE INNATE. YET UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF THIS YOUTH POPULATION, to be among if not the primary means of REVERSING the unsustainable trajectory of the GLOBAL YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH and SUICIDE EMERGENCY that’s now one of the greatest existential THREATS TO YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE. Our generation lives in a reality wherein we lose more peers to suicide annually than we lose to cancer, heart disease, stroke, AIDS, birth defects, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung diseases COMBINED in that same one-year period. Therefore our model's guiding principle  is our absolute confidence in the ability and desire of the global youth population to build a kinder, more emotionally intelligent, more equal, ethical and authentic world: a world where suicide is not the 2nd leading cause of death in people 10-34 years old, causing more deaths annually than any physical disease in our generation's population, a solemn belief that our generation will refuse to continue to live in a world where this reality stands, fighting to reverse the trajectory of this global travesty fiercely, efficiently, and ultimately with tangible and lasting efficacy.

First, we want to be clear that we highly promote that everyone who has the option, seeks professional treatment for mental illness or suicide-related issues for clinical treatment from a licensed professional remains the gold standard for treating mental illness & preventing suicide. This said, research shows that 80% of youth American youth with a DIAGNOSABLE MENTAL ILLNESS go without proper treatment due to factors such as barriers to access, mental health stigma, lack of basic mental health education in our schools and other crucial factors. In fact, up to 96% of youth with mental health struggles don’t manage to seek professional help and end up not seeking help of any kind for their potentially life or death provoking vulnerabilities. Of note, when youth do manage to risk being vulnerable by choosing seek help when in mental health crisis, a majority of the time (67%), youth choose to confide any self-harm or suicide related ideations in fellow youth peer before or entirely instead of telling a mental health professional, a parent, or an adult of any kind for that matter.

So, we ask again, why Friends For Life? The answer is that our model isn't revolutionary in and of itself, it's only a game-changer in its unique recognition of the ability and unparalleled desire of THIS GENERATION OF YOUTH to forge a future wherein we reverse the momentum of this crisis by ENDING THE SILENCE, STIGMA, SHAMING, and INACTION that is literally DEADLY and only becoming more so with each passing day. Our model is designed based on our recognition that youth-based peer-support and gatekeeping must be scaled up and implemented widely if we have any chance of turning this crisis around. Therefore our model is centered around EMPOWERING YOUTH TO FIGHT FOR THEIR OWN MENTAL WELLNESS AND SAFETY VIA PEER-BASED SUPPORT in a dual-pronged approach that attempts to ensure the maximum access to support (both individualized peer-support via the Friends For Life Duo Partnership as well as a wider peer-based gatekeeping support network provided by way of our currently forming, soon to be vibrant, diverse, and global virtual youth mental wellness and self-harm prevention-focused peer-to-peer gatekeeping support community, providing among so much else: meaningful social connection, normalization of mental health-related discussions, warrior-led advocacy initiatives and virtual events (i.e. memorials, educational lectures, virtual action initiatives, etc. , and so much more. Please keep in mind some features won't be fully available until Friends For Life takes on its ultimate form of a cross-platform smartphone application--but a majority of tools are available right on this platform and the beta app is only a few months out! As a final comment we do just want all young people to know that this forum is OPEN and FULLY AVAILABLE TO ALL, IRREGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU PARTICIPATE IN FRIENDS FOR LIFE! 

 
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What if I Don't Have a Friend For Life?

It’s important for potential participants to understand that a majority of future Friends For Life Warriors are meeting their Friend For Life through this community itself because when you elect to meet your future partner from this pool, you are naturally increasing your odds of a successful & mutually invested partnership, for both partners have joined this community because at baseline members must have one of the following interests: ending the silence and stigma surrounding mental health, grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, healing personally or searching for allyship opportunities, working to elevate personal mental wellness, pursing journeys of self-healing, self-care and self-love, among many other interrelated and intersectional mental health, human rights, and social justice issues, passions and concerns. 

While it's wonderful if you have someone in mind from your in-person, current friend group, might be a good we want to make it crystal clear that A MAJORITY OF FORUM MEMBERS  for a number of reasons,  largely  stigma and social pressures, DON"T FEEL COMFORTABLE  asking someone in their everyday, in-person life to be their FFL on the chance that this person reacts in a stigmatizing way. That's one of the many wonderful reasons we founded this multi-benefit forum: to serve as an ideal and a safe environment in which your ability to find meaningful human connection, eventually leading to meaningful friendships of all kinds. And for those who are considering seeking out a FFL partner via this community (again you would be in the majority), we've provided specific tools & opportunities (on this very platform and even more so true on our under development smartphone app), to help members meet, befriend and pair up with a person who could end up having a profound and lifelong (and even. life-saving impact, and vice versa) on your mental wellness, safety, and quality of life: your future FRIEND FOR LIFE, "A Friendship Worth Living For." 

The key to finding and offering peer-support in our community, whether as a Friend For Life Warrior or just as a regular member, is to engage the interactive components of our platform by participating in the lively discussions taking place in the forum, to join special-interest groups based on your passions where you'lll meet like-minded future friends, and to attend the events (i.e. video conferencing social hours or activism planning sessions) that are held in tandem with these other components.  To help facilitate the process of interested future warriors meeting their partner, we've founded a forum thread and special-interest group soley dedicated to this purpose, aptly named "FRIENDS FOR LIFE MEET-UP" thread and or special-interest group respectively.  In addition to being the avenue by which you can meet your partner, these two interactive components ensure members are receiving group-level peer mental health gatekeeping support while they are in the midst of the process of searching for their Friend For Life. Granted the ideal and safest version of our model is when you have both the one-on-one support of your FFL and the community wide peer-support component in place when you have officially  paired up, but choosing the correct Friend For Life, even if it means going with group level support only for a little while longer, is worth the wait because this relationship has a likelihood of changing your life for the better and even the potential of saving the life of either you or your partner one day.

So if you are a solo future warrior ready to commit and the only thing holding you back is that you don’t have a Friend For Life and don’t know how to meet one, here’s what we suggest:

  1. Fill out the official Friends For Life Warrior Sign-Up (indicate if you wish to appear on our Warrior Wall or receive the other benefits we provide as a way of recognizing your commitment to fighting to uphold your own mental wellness & safety and eventually also that of a your Friend For Life!

  2. If you have committed to be a Friend For Life Warrior and you don’t have a partner yet, your only required commitment is to post one uplifting mental health check-in type message to the Friends For Life Meet-Up group once every Friends For Life Friday. It is possible this check-in will start an interesting dialogue that will help you begin to meet people, but if you find that you’re not meeting many people with this simple one post per week, we suggest you venture out by asking questions of the group, trying to start conversations, or, going into a special interest group on a topic of specific interest to you and speaking with others passionate on that topic. While we can’t guarantee they will all be members looking for a partner if you venture outside of the FFL meet-up group, but to make your search easier, we ask each member to list in their profile whether they are looking for a partner, so you know from the get-go! Make sure to fill out this section on your own profile so that people searching for a partner can readily find you!

  3. Finally, if and when you meet someone that you hit it off with, you can break off into our confidential Private Messaging tool so that you can discuss more sensitive and vulnerable topics that you may not feel comfortable discussing in a group setting, in this entirely private (even from site administrators), so you can best determine if this person is the ideal fit to be your permanent Friend For Life Partner. It is up to you how, when, and why and whom you ask to be your Friends For Life, “Our Friendship is Worth Fighting For."

What are you waiting for, go check out the latest forum post or join the Friends For Life Meet-Up Thread or Special Interest Group (after you have completed the Friends For Life official sign-up/commitment).

Friends For Life:

"Our Friendship is Worth Fighting For"

Warrior Wall:

We are so proud of you and excited for you and your current or future partner for embarking on this journey of self-love, self-respect, and selfless dedication to both your current or future friend for life partner and the general global youth mental health community as a whole. The guiding principle of the friends for life model, the reason we believe it could be a game-changer, is because it is all about YOU ALL!

 It is not our model that will change history, it is simply our model that recognizes THAT OUR GENERATION OF YOUTH is being DESTROYED by this SILENCED and most DEADLY OF EPIDEMICS. Our model has ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN OUR GENERATION’S ABILITY TO FIGHT TO UPLIFT EACH OTHER’S MENTAL WELLNESS & BE THE STEWARDS OF EACH OTHER’S SAFETY—AS IF OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT, BECAUSE IT TURNS IT, IT JUST MIGHT!

In recognition of your courageous and monumental commitment we want to offer you an ENTIRELY OPTIONAL opportunity to be permanently featured on our WARRIOR WALL (which also comes along with an IG follow and the WARRIOR WALL post being shared in our story—also optional: see form below as you can pick and choose which aspect you prefer to partake in). If you do elect to be featured on the wall you can elect to have anywhere from none to all of the below aspects featured in your individualized (for solo warriors) or Friends For Life Duo (for partnered warriors) post: 

  1. A profile picture

  2. An inspiring quote: we do ask that the quote, whether it be your own words or someone else’s, be a quote that is somehow relevant to mental health, mental wellness, self-care, self-love, suicide/self-harm prevention, ending the silence/stigma, or other closely related intersectional issues about human rights or social justice topics.

  3. Finally, you get to “honor”/promote one mental health or intersectional social cause by getting to list an Instagram (or other form of social media) handle, website, email address, book title, etc.*

*You can absolutely use this spot to promote your own Instagram page (or other social page or website, etc.), even if it’s a personal page/blog/memoir, etc., as long as some of your content is tied to mental health awareness or suicide prevention and/or other socially relevant and intersectional human rights and social justice issues! The point of giving each warrior a chance to promote a certain handle, website, etc. is to help bring attention to other mental health and suicide prevention movements and organizations (from personal IG pages all the way up to things like the Trevor Project and AFSP), to help raise awareness, donations, volunteer participation, followers, etc. for these most deserving causes that are doing similar educational, advocacy and charitable works as End The Silent Epidemic and Friends For Life. We think it’s important to use our own website to help advertise for other such movements because the youth mental health and suicide crisis is one of if not the greatest existential threat to our generation and we frankly need ALL HANDS-ON DECK

Friends For Life:

"Our Friendship is Worth Fighting For" 

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Follow Us on Instagram for More!

 

Become an Official Friends For Life Warrior

If you sign up below you will officially become a Friends For Life Warrior and to acknowledge your dedication to fighting for youth mental wellness and the safety of your self, your FFL, and/or your peers, we’ll give you a follow and shoutout on Instagram and we will permanently honor you by placing you're username and/or picture on our "Warrior Wall"  (acknowledgement entirely optional if you prefer to participate w/o recognition).

 

To become an official FFL WARRIOR you must commit to one simple task that takes <5 mins/week. This task will take but a moment each Friday but is guaranteed to either form or further strengthen friendship bonds and has the potential to even save a life. 

 

When you sign up below you’re committing to:

  • Scenario 1: If you already have a friend for life: sending a once weekly mental health check-in on FRIENDS FOR LIFE FRIDAY.

 

  • Scenario 2: If you don't yet have a FFL*:  Join the FFL Meet-Up Group and the corresponding FFL Forum Thread where each FFL FRIDAY you’ll post to the group thread a message of friendship with an offer of support. 

 

*You’re in good company, in fact a huge reason this forum exists is to help people find a FFL through the FFL meetup group. While you may not have a single FFL yet, as part of the meetup group you’ll enjoy the benefit of having multiple peers who will be caring about and checking-in on your mental wellness.If you begin to make close friendship(s), you may reach out by private message to another forum member to offer individualized check-ins/support which could even turn into you finding you official FFL partner!

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Thanks for caring for the wellness and safety of your peers, welcome to the FRIENDS FOR LIFE FAMILY!