Suicide Prevention Month: Hey Friend, Can We Talk Immediately?
Trigger Warning Suicide Prevention Month, suicidal ideations
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and this is the second post. I want to tell you that I am not a therapist or a psychiatrist. I am a person that has a mental illness and have lived with abuse most of my life. I feel that I am knowledgeable in talking about suicide ideation as I have experienced this as well.
If You Think Your Friend Has Suicidal Ideations
You may or may not know when someone you love has suicidal ideations. They could make a withdrawal from friends and family, which makes it easier to miss. If your friend is typically outgoing and starts to avoid everyone, you might want to check in on them.
Use Suicide Prevention Month as an Opportunity.
If you suspect a friend is having a problem, use this month as a conversation starter. I would open up by saying, “I saw an article on the news about September being Suicide Prevention month. Did you see it? Have you ever thought about killing yourself?” Sometimes just asking will cause them to stop and think about their thoughts. The most important thing you can do for them is talk. Talk to them because they are so alone and probably think no one cares.
Your friend might say things like, “I can’t handle this anymore,” or “I just need to stop hurting right now.” They might not say anything and look like the world’s weight is on them.
If you reach out and point blank ask them, “Are you thinking of ending your life?” Statistics show that most of the time, questions lead to help. Do NOT ask, “How could you possibly feel that way?” Please do not minimize it at all! Only offer compassion and let them know you care.
Keep Them Talking
Ask them to talk to you. If someone opens up, they are more likely to get help. Most people are too embarrassed to ask for help or think no one cares to listen. Follow the conversation for cues. If they want to share their life story, let them do it!!! They may not want to say much but keep asking questions so they know you are there and that you care what happens to them. Most people are NOT equipped to handle this situation and honestly don’t know what to say. Just love your friend. Tell them you care and want to help them.
When I thought of suicide, I did not discuss it with anyone. Deep down, I wanted someone to notice that I was NOT ok and ask me what I needed. My Husband was that one. After some time, he noticed that something was wrong deeper than I was just upset. He encouraged me to talk to my therapist after he reassured me that he loved me very much. The good thing was that I had a therapy appointment the next day, and I talked to her upon James’ urging. She helped me realize that death was not what I wanted, but I had to stop the problems. I had disturbing nightmares about the abuse I had suffered as a child. If you haven’t, please read my story on this blog, Uncover My Account In The Journey Of My Life, or over at the Blog Salt + Sparrow, Finding my Rock in the Lord, to better understand my thoughts here.
Call or Text 988
Try to ease in the conversation that they should seek medical attention NOW. You can call or text 988 anytime, day or night. It is a crisis center with licensed people who can help your friend immediately and get local people to help as well. Some people do not want to say out loud that they want to die. They might not really want to die. They want whatever is making them suffer to stop. If they are depressed, they just want it to end. They could have financial or marital problems and do not know how to fix them. It can be something with work. You just don’t know what a person is going through. Don’t try to guess. Ask them with a sincere heart.
Suppose your “friend” is you. I care, and I will listen. If you don’t want to talk to me, call someone, text someone, phone or text 988, and speak to someone there. The HARDEST part is reaching out. If you take that one step, you will sail through the rest of it. If you ask for help, help will come to you. It might not solve your problems, but it can help you with them. Please seek medical attention, especially if your situation is with mental health. Therapy and medication have come a long way from what they used to be. Treatment is not lying on a couch while someone writes and nods every once in a while. It is a safe place where someone cares and has advice that you can actually use to solve your problems.
There are a few ways to connect with me on this blog and on social media. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You will go to my accounts if you click on the social icons at the bottom of the page. I check them often. The best way is by email. I am being serious. I have been there, and I care about my readers. I am NOT a Doctor or a Therapist. I am a friend only, and I love you.