Learning that someone you know is at risk of committing suicide is a difficult situation. You might be wondering how to provide help when to someone who is suicidal. All these doubts and questions are normal.
First things first, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. Given how difficult the situation is, let us start with things you shouldn’t do. Do not take these discussions or remarks lightly. You might feel like you could be overreacting to a simple off-handed comment. But even if they were 1% serious means, they could be at risk.
Now that you know what not to do, let’s get back to our primary question. How to help when someone is suicidal? There are a lot of practical things that you can do. Here are a few things that might help you in these difficult times.
Effective solutions on how to help when someone is suicidal
1. Look for warning signs.
If someone you know has been behaving differently, pay attention. Spot any behavioral changes that you can. Often people having suicidal tendencies show their intent at some point in time. Common warning signs include:
- talking about being a burden or being helpless,
- socially isolating themselves,
- feeling depressed, anxious, easily irritated, etc.
2. Reach out to them to ask about their well-being.
The next step in how to help when someone is suicidal is to reach out and show that you care. People generally having suicidal tendencies feel like a burden on others and therefore refuse to reach out for help. That is why when you extend your support; it might help them feel less isolated.
It does not matter if you can’t find the perfect words to articulate your love and support. Your presence makes a huge difference in their life. Simple questions about how they are doing and statements like “I am here if you need anything” can make a huge difference for them.
3. Be direct: ask them if you suspect they are thinking of suicide.
Ask them if they are contemplating suicide. This might sound like a difficult and uncomfortable question, but an honest question might also encourage an honest answer.
However, make sure to be compassionate and not sound like you are passing judgment. Try to reassure them and show your support.
Read more: How To Ask Someone If They Are Okay
Listen without judgments. This will help reduce the shame and stigma attached to their struggles. It will allow them to express what they are feeling fully.
Try to understand why they are feeling that way. Saying things like “that sounds really tough” might reassure them that they are understood. Try not to jump straight into the problem-solving stage, as this can sound dismissive.
5. Encourage professional help.
The final step in how to help when someone is suicidal is to tell them that proper help is available for the issues they are going through. Reaching out for help is tough. You can help them connect with the right professional help.
If they are not ready to get professional help yet, you can make them call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If they don’t feel like talking, suggest they send a text TALK to Crisis Text Line at 741741. They can explain more about proper professional help.
Read more: Best Online Therapy Platforms.
*If someone you know is in immediate danger:
- stay with them,
- call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or
- encourage them to seek help from a counselor or therapist.
It is very emotionally draining to take care of someone at risk of suicide. Make sure you take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy. We hope these steps on how to help when someone is suicidal will help you avert a possible crisis.
With the increase in mental health issues worldwide, it is highly certain that someone around you might require your help and support. Learn more about providing mental health first aid here.
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