Talk it Out
Talking about suicide may feel awkward, you may not be comfortable with it. Perhaps someone you love is struggling and you think they may be having thoughts of suicide, what do you do? Some people think talking about suicide will make someone more suicidal, that’s a myth. In fact, according to BBC, studies show that thoughts of suicide may decrease after talking about it directly. In this post from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Lydia Russo talks about her own experiences with suicide. She was unwilling to admit that she was feeling suicidal, and didn’t want her family to worry, until they directly asked her if she was considering suicide. That is when she started seeking help and when her family was able to work together to support her.
Ask and Listen
An article on Mind discusses how to talk to someone who is considering suicide. The first tip they give is to ask open-ended questions, to encourage discussion. They recommend listening intently to what the person has to say, not to judge, but because you care. They may need time to form the words or get the confidence, give it to them. They need to know that you care, that you are truly there for them. Take it seriously, if they’re talking to you, the idea probably isn’t new. And be direct, if you aren’t sure whether they are considering suicide, just ask. It won’t hurt and could encourage them to be more open. Ask if they have a plan. If they do, or if you feel they are any danger to themselves or others, seek help by calling 911 or a local crisis hotline. Get them the help they need when they need it.
If you’re not sure what to say, stay with them while they call a crisis centre (Canada: 1-833-456-4566. Text 45645, USA: 1-800-273-8255) or, if they are willing, bring them to one. The people on the helplines and at the centres are trained to talk about suicide. But don’t leave it there, if someone is having suicidal thoughts, be there for them. Listen to what they have to say and reassure them that you do love them, and nothing can change that. If the person has had a non-fatal attempt at suicide, they still need help.
This article from Lifeline Canada provides tips on how your loved one needs you at that time. Because they do need you. At the start of the article, Rory Butler, talks about how he found hope in his family. People can find hope in many things. In family, in the church, in friendship, in so many things. But hope is so important. It can make all the difference.