3 Ways to Save a Life
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Suicide is now being treated as an epidemic. With so many people ending their lives prematurely across the USA, it is becoming more and more important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms of those having suicidal thoughts so we can save as many lives as possible.
The reality is that if we can all be more aware of our friends and family, we might be able to stop this epidemic in its tracks. No matter what the reason for suicidal thoughts, if we can just get the help our friends need, there is a much better chance that they will go on to live a long, happy and healthy life.
Learning About Mental Health and Suicide
It’s not a cheery subject, granted, but learning about all the most common mental health issues is a good way to get grounded in what the medical horizon looks like. Many people with mental health conditions are perfectly capable of leading normal and fulfilled lives and may be so adept at hiding their problem that you simply never know.
Depression and suicidal thoughts definitely fall into this category. Many people who go on to commit suicide never gave a hint to their friends and family what they were feeling beforehand and therefore never gave them a chance to help. This is devastating news for everyone involved and learning to identify symptoms or even just checking in on an emotional level every so often could make a significant difference.
Relias Academy’s online suicide prevention courses are ideal for giving you all the information you need and suggesting the actions you might want to take. Just remember that if you are concerned for someone, you might want to approach another of their friends or family for a little support. You don’t have to do this on your own and shouldn’t be expected to either.
When people say “I’m here for you” it often comes across as empty words. If you know that someone is depressed and needs more help, you might be tempted to say this to them but then wait for them to ask for more help when they need it.
Asking for help, no matter what the situation, is really hard. Instead of waiting for someone in need to finally come to you, you should ask them direct questions such as “how can I help” or “would it help if I … “. You don’t have to do everything for them, but offering more tangible ways of helping is a lot easier for your friend to either accept or reject. Plus, once you have offered a form of help and followed through, they should become more comfortable in asking for other things.
Sometimes the best way to be there for someone is to literally be there. Sitting with a friend, even if you settle into a slightly uncomfortable silence is another tangible way of demonstrating your commitment to the friendship. Being a listening ear is usually the best way to give someone time – especially when they may not know how to phrase their problem in other situations.
Ask Your Friends How They Feel
We are all guilty of asking the question, ‘how are you?’ without stopping to really listen to the answer. And, we are all also guilty of automatically responding, ‘I’m ok.’ This needs to change.
Asking your friends how they are feeling and really listening properly to their response is a great way to check in and make sure they are alright. We should be sharing more about how we feel and the pressures we are under, rather than brushing them aside and forgetting about how important our mental health is.
Talking to friends about their mental health is a difficult conversation to have but, given that this moment could be the chance they get to find help, it is important that you power through – especially if you are concerned. This is a pretty touchy subject so you should be prepared for your friend to respond badly, but don’t give up. It is important that they know that you are offering a safe space for them to talk things through.
Though you can’t be expected to be the only thing standing between a person and their darkest thoughts, these three simple approaches show just how easy it is to do something about the suicide epidemic we face. If we can all take the time to really care for our friends and each other, we will all benefit – suicidal thoughts or not.
US National Suicide Prevention Hotline
OUTSIDE THE US… call your National Emergency for help.
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