Suicide is the second-largest cause of death in the United States among people aged between 10-34. Suicidal thoughts are most likely to arise due to isolation, loneliness, abuse, and other physical and mental health issues. You may find yourself in a situation where a friend or a loved one is having such thoughts. Here are some ways to support a friend going through a difficult period in life.
Take their word seriously
People often talk about suicide to get attention, but it isn’t always the case. Neglecting such signs and considering them as attention-seeking tactics can trigger a suicidal person even more. Brushing off any mention of suicide can make suicidal people reluctant to share their thoughts and reach out for professional help.
Be aware of their behavior
People usually talk about suicide in unclear or vague ways. You may find yourself hearing things from your friend that may reflect a sense of failure, hopelessness, or shame. Suicidal people may never directly say, “I want to die” or “I am thinking about committing suicide.” Instead, try reading between the lines. Statements like “I feel like a burden on everyone” or “I’ll never feel good” could indicate they’re having suicidal thoughts.
Also, look out for physical signs like your friend not wanting to spend time with people, sleeping less or more than usual, giving away important or treasured belongings, or behaving more impulsively than usual. However, these signs do not always mean that someone is having suicidal thoughts. But having a conversation about such actions and statements with your friend can help you have a clearer idea.
Be a Good Listener
People usually change the topic when they hear their loved ones talking about suicide, thinking this will help their loved ones feel better. However, in such circumstances, one should always consider that changing the topic may not be received as intended by their loved ones. Suicidal people may think that you don’t appreciate the depth of their pain. This can keep them from confiding in you. Moreover, the widespread idea that talking about suicide in front of suicidal people can trigger their emotions is just another myth. Rather, opening up about such thoughts in front of an empathic listener can actually neutralize the situation
Encourage Professional Support
You should encourage them to talk to a professional therapist. However, under no circumstances force them to go to a therapist. Instead of passing a judgment and saying, “you need to go to a therapist,” try using the approach “let’s find out what a professional psychologist thinks about this.” You may know your friend better than a therapist, but a therapist will surely be able to help them untangle their emotions better.
If your friend seems reluctant to go to a therapist, you can encourage them to find professional help online. GetCareMD is an online healthcare service that offers online consultation by reliable health experts for mental issues like stress, depression, and anxiety. Along with providing expert therapists, the platform also offers online medical services from health experts dealing with physical health issues. Visit their website to know more.