If you know someone who might be behaving like they are considering suicide or are expressing thoughts related to suicide and you need to know how to offer support the right way, there are things here that can help. It is a difficult and scary situation, something you can get help with using resources like a mental health toolkit. Your support can play a key role in steering someone towards healing rather than the terrible alternative. It is important to honor their choices, acknowledge them, and make sure they know asking for help is okay and that you are there.
Be open in your conversations about suicide
Suicide is not something shameful or disgusting. It happens and when you are talking to someone who has survived an attempt, it has happened to them and they should not be made to feel ashamed. Being open about it is crucial in giving them the support they need. Make sure the topic is not taboo and that you give them a space that is welcoming where they can share if they want to. If you cannot talk to them with compassion in a health conversation it tells them not to seek help when they need it.
Always be calm and patient with them
Stay calm and be patient with them. Use a behavioral health toolkit to guide you if you need it. They will likely need different support at different times so be prepared to adjust, sometimes they want company, and sometimes they want to be alone and this needs to be respected as long as that need for isolation is not an effort to try to commit suicide again. Check-in often and show them respect and watch out for those warning signs.
Listen hard when they want to talk to you
You do not have to have all the answers when you talk to them even with the help of a mental health toolkit. Professionals can help dissect their reasoning. Your job is more to listen to them and not question their feelings. Listen to what they are saying and also let them have moments of silence where they might appreciate your presence but do not want to talk. Gaps in the conversation do not have to be filled with platitudes. Be honest with them and that is a great way of encouraging them to do the same.
Keep offering them compassion
One of the hardest things about being a suicide survivor or being the people left behind even is the stigma that suicide has. Telling them they were selfish to do this or judging them does not help them open up and make efforts towards healing. As they navigate their way through things they will need all the support they can get. The decision to try and take their life was not one that was because of a character flaw, it comes from immense pain. When helping them take advantage of any resources you can find like a behavioral health toolkit.
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