Have you or anyone you know been affected by suicide or suicidality? 3 things you can do to help.
It’s likely you or someone you know has been affected by suicide. With World Suicide Prevention Week just last week, we wanted to give you some tips from what we learned about reducing the risk. Here are 3 key pointers:
Although we can’t target a single cause for suicide, there is scientific evidence that connecting with others lowers the risk. When a person with suicide ideation is isolated, they have more opportunity for their thoughts to proceed unchecked. When we connect with them, they have a stable perspective to measure from, and we can also extend the compassion that they might need to get help.
A central way to help is to talk about the problem. Although suicide is a heavy topic to address, the more we shine a light on it, the more we can see it clearly and prevent it from happening. Mental health is just as important as physical health and needs to be seen as such. A common misconception is that by talking about suicide we can plant the idea in people’s heads. In reality, when people are struggling, they need to communicate their thoughts and feelings in order to heal. This can’t happen unless we ask questions and remove the shame surrounding the subject.
Recognize the Warning Signs and Extend Help.
Knowing the warning signs is critical to be able to help those in need. Isolation or considering oneself to be a burden can lead to further withdrawal. This is why recognizing the signs and reaching out is crucial. A few warning signs include anxiety, lack of hope, past attempts, increased drug or alcohol use, self-hatred, emotional numbness or apathy, detachment, rage, suicidal thoughts, and isolation from friends and family. Although this list isn’t comprehensive, it provides a base from which we can draw from. When reaching out, it is important not to put someone on the spot, and ease into the conversation, perhaps saying something like, “Hey, I noticed you’ve seemed really down lately, what’s on your mind?” It is essential that this person feels like you care about them and have a genuine interest in their wellbeing. Something like, “I care about you a lot and want you to feel okay. What can we do to help you get there?”
Resources to extend to those in need:
–National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (call or online chat): 1-800-273-8255
-Confidential Crisis Text Line: Text “GO” to 741741
-Apps: Suicide Crisis Support, Virtual Hope Box, ASK and Prevent Suicide, and My3 Safety Plan App