When someone you know or someone who’s close to you reveals that they have been struggling in their life, or are thinking of acting on the suicidal thoughts that creep in and affect them on a daily basis, it can come as quite the shock to you. But how you choose to respond will make a world of difference, and perhaps even save someone before it gets too late. Here are a few things you should know, especially when you’re dealing with someone who is finding it difficult to cope with their suicidal behavior.
What’s simple for you is difficult for them.
It’s possible that the reasons for someone to act on their suicidal thoughts might sound a little too naive for you, but it will be far from the truth. Stop looking at how tough or easy their problem is, and focus on the tough battle the person being suicidal is currently fighting.
Listen, and listen well.
Just let the person feeling suicidal unload their burden. By listening to them vent out, you’re providing them with a personal space where they can express their pain. Don’t try to fix their problems, don’t worry about picking the right words, just tell them that you’re glad that they chose to express their pain.
Be there to help them a little early.
If you do spot signs of someone being suicidal, don’t brush it off. A lot of people who feel suicidal don’t seek help because they think other might take it casually or mock them for being weak. By offering to listen to their woes, you can help them share their pain before it increases and makes life unbearable.
Ask them if they’re having suicidal thoughts.
It might make you feel that you’re putting ideas into the head of someone who’s already vulnerable, but that’s not the truth. Just by asking this question you’re telling them that you acknowledge the tough situation they’re in and that you are ok if they unload their burden, share their anguish with you. However, if they respond with a “Yes” do try to find out since when have they been dealing with suicidal thoughts.
Don’t shy away from getting help.
It’s natural for someone who’s just opened up to you about their suicidal intentions to ask you not to reveal it to anyone else. Tell them that you understand, but always seek out professional help or at least reach out to someone who you think can thoroughly evaluate the situation without any biases or judgment. Don’t try to go on it all alone. The situation can get intense, and by sharing it with the others, you can make things a lot easier for both of you.
At some point in their lives, almost everyone has had to struggle with suicidal thoughts, but globally, the number of suicide related deaths aren’t astronomically high. So just by showing your concern, willingness to listen to someone’s troubles, you can make it a lot easier for a suicidal person to ask for help right when they need it.