Suicide is often the last thing that people want to talk about. It often lives in the darkest part of our minds, and is linked with feelings of fear, shame, loneliness. Over the past few years, it does seem that people are talking about it more, more crisis centers are being established across the country. More teachers, managers, parents and professionals are being educated on the signs of someone feeling depressed, anxious, and/or suicidal. AND we must keep moving forward on building awareness about prevention.
Here are some simple things that you can do to help:
Ask! There has long been this myth that if you ask someone if they are suicidial that they will become suicidal, this is far from true, and most people will give you an indication on whether your suspicions are accurate when you simply ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
Keep them safe. If you are worried that you alone will not be able to keep a person safe bring them to a walk-in center, or the ER where trained professionals can monitor them, and help improve the individuals stability and safety.
Be connected. Often times when a person feels suicidal they are at a point where they feel that nothing will get better, and that no one can help them. Remind the person that they are not alone, and that support for their mental health is available.
Don’t judge, validate, Being vulnerable can be extremely difficult, do your best to express compassion and understanding for why the person feels the way they do. Offer support, rather than solutions in the moment.
Follow up. Ask the person how they feel, and do your best to ignore signs of them needing help.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.