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How to help a loved one talking about suicide

Living
 Here are a few steps you can take to save a life [Courtesy]

Mental health problems can sneak in slowly and gradually get worse without you noticing. With time the pressures and burdens can push you to the point where you need to seek therapy or medication and in some cases, suicide becomes an option, unfortunately.

There are many people who have lost their family members and friends to suicide. Once it happens, you start seeing some warning signs that you could have spotted and some of these situations could have been avoided with more awareness of what suicide warning signs look like.

The first thing to note is, when someone starts having an obsession with death. Another major warning sign is when you see someone giving away their possessions or saying their goodbyes indirectly because that shows they have a plan in place to take their own lives.

If you’ve noticed that your loved one is showing signs that they’re suicidal, you have a chance to prevent that from happening. Here are a few steps you can take to save a life.

Assess the situation

There are different levels of suicide risk that you should know about. This is what guides you on how you can proceed.

When it is a low risk, they might say that they’ve had some suicidal thoughts from time to time but they’ve never thought of going through with any plans. If it’s a moderate risk, they will experience more suicidal thoughts and maybe they have even considered a couple of ways they can do it but nothing solid. When it is high or severe, they will have a specific and actionable lethal plan in place.

You can find out these details by asking questions and encouraging them to open up.

 Part of offering adequate support is doing the work to get them some assistance [Courtesy]]

Assure them that they’re not alone

Someone who is considering suicide eventually separates themselves from others. At that point those thoughts convince them that they’re completely alone, which makes them lose all hope.

What they need is for someone to understand how they’re feeling and they especially need to hear over and over again that they’re not alone.

Those words can help restore hope again up to where they abandon any plans they had in place.

Offer them a listening ear

Allow them to open up to you and express how they’re feeling. They have probably felt like no one has the time to listen and understand what they have been going through and that is why they’re actually seeing that suicide is the only way.

Therefore, ensure them that you’re willing and ready to listen. No distractions, no rushing and no interruptions. And especially no judgements at this point in time.

Don’t minimize their struggles

Life requires a lot of strength and resilience. But we also need to understand that what you can handle isn’t what someone else can handle.

So, if you’re talking to them and what they’re saying wouldn’t be a cause to give up on life from your perspective, that’s okay. But the worst move you can make is to show them that what is troubling them isn’t a big deal because that will only make the situation worse.

Connect them with a professional

Don’t give them the responsibility of finding help because they don’t have the strength to do it alone. Part of offering adequate support is doing the work to get them some assistance.

Find suicide hotline numbers, counsellors and other professionals who know how to deal with the situation more professionally as you continue encouraging and being there for them.

 

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