Suicide: How To Help Someone Through A Crisis
September is National Suicide Prevention month so I wanted to share some things I learned about helping someone through a crisis. Maybe you’ve never been personally affected by suicide but chances are you may may find yourself in a situation where these tools may become vital.
ASK Simply asking someone if they are having suicidal thoughts, may open the door to a supportive, non-judgemental conversation about their mental status. Other questions you can ask are “How do you hurt?” or “How can I help?” An important part of this step is to actually listen to their answer. Take their answers seriously and do not ignore them.
KEEP THEM SAFE Do they already have a plan in place? Do they have access to their planned method? If their plan is thought out and detailed and they have immediate access to their preferred method, then steps need to be taken such as calling the authorities or taking them to an emergency room.
BE THERE Be there physically or by telephone. If you can not, discuss a person that can be who is willing and appropriate. Listening to them is key in this step, because it increases their connectedness which has shown to be a protective factor against suicide.
HELP THEM CONNECT Someone with suicidal thoughts needs continuous support, like possibly Lifeline (800-273-8255), that could help when they find themselves in a moment of crisis. You can offer to help them find a mental health professional. Help them put a plan in place, like a list of people to call when in a crisis situation.
FOLLOW UP Make sure to follow up with them. Send a text or give them a call. Again, limiting isolation and increasing connections has shown to help prevent suicide.
Suicide is a topic that is not talked about enough, and yet affects so many of us. Studies have shown that talking about suicide with someone who may be considering it, does not increase the likelihood of it occurring but actually reduces suicidal ideation. So please, get out there and check in with family and friends. You may just save someone’s life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).