When someone you know exhibits suicidal behavior, it can be difficult to know what to say – talking about it openly or intervening can feel as if you’re making matters worse. However, there are steps you can take to help those you love overcome difficult times. As we recognize Suicide Prevention Month, we’ve outlined a few ways you can help and support those experiencing suicidal thoughts below.
Understand where their pain is coming from.
Sometimes, those who think about suicide don’t want to end their life – they want to find a way to escape the repeating cycle of their pain and distress. Tunnel vision on hopelessness and lack of alternatives can drive people to feel the only way to escape it is by ending their life. Also, guilt can make them feel as if they’re a burden to those around them. Let it be known that you want to understand where these feelings are stemming from, and you will stand by them as they find alternative ways to overcome those emotions.
Recognize that social perfectionism and societal expectations have a hand in suicidal thoughts.
We feel the pressures of societal standards every day. These can weigh heavily on us, as we think about what others expect of us – not what we expect of ourselves. There’s a burden that comes with feeling like a failure. Become a vessel of support to your loved one, and be open to discussing these social norms. You cannot control what others think about you, but you can choose how you view yourself.
Don’t be afraid to check in.
Asking someone if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts isn’t necessarily going to put the idea in their head. Rather, it could catapult them into seeking help. But, as long as you remain compassionate, open and non-judgmental when checking in, you’ll provide a stable entry into prevention and recovery.
Emphasize there is hope.
Tunnel vision on a current state of distress can prevent people with suicidal thoughts from hope, happiness and help. It’s imperative that you remind them that hope still exists. Reminding them of positive life experiences in moments of crisis can bring them to a more positive mindset. Giving even the slightest glimmer of hope can change someone’s life.
This September, the world recognizes Suicide Prevention Month – an initiative centered on increasing awareness of suicide warning signs and preventive actions. Let’s work together to remove the stigma surrounding the topic and continue providing an open dialogue in your community. We are here for you, and we’re more than ready to provide the support and help you need. If you or someone you know is in need of our services, our team of certified staff members and clinicians are here to help. Through professional therapy and guidance, we can assist those experiencing hardships and find positive solutions. For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.