Suicide is scary to think about and talk about. People steer away from talking about it because they don’t know how to help and don’t know what to do. I want to help shatter the stigma and get people talking about suicide and help someone get help. The stigma and fear keep someone from getting help and not doing anything stops a life from being saved. Below is a list of 4 things you can do to help a loved one through this difficult time.
Talk about it
This step is easy. If you are concerned about a loved one, then state that and ask them what might be going on. This step is easy and is the most important. An individual who is depressed, sad, and/or suicidal already feels alone, scared, and empty; don’t add to that. Asking, lets them know it is okay to talk about it and that they are not alone. Be a listener and be there for them.
Let me take some weight off of your shoulders. . . IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO FIX THEM! Okay, now that you feel better, let’s continue. You did not create this problem and it is not on you to fix it. This individual wants to know someone cares, they are not looking to you to solve all of the problems with one conversation. Someone who is suicidal often feels alone, so all you have to do is help them know that someone does care. So listen and have a conversation.
DO NOT downplay their feelings
Let me repeat that, DO NOT downplay their feelings. We are all entitled to feel what we feel and the feelings are real. You also do not have to understand their feelings or say you have felt the same way. You have no idea what they are going through and that is okay. You just have to show empathy and let them know you care. Validate how they are feeling and show them you want to understand.
Help them get help
Help is easy to get. Sometimes people just need to know that it is okay for them to get to help. Finding a therapist in your area is as easy as contacting your insurance provider or doing a google search for one near you. Getting help does not make someone weak, getting help means they can do the work, just not alone.