How to Help Someone Struggling with Suicidal Thoughts
In 2018 alone, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts in the United States.1
This high number makes suicide the 10th
leading cause of death in the country, but the worst part is that it is completely preventable. Many friends and family members have had to say goodbye to a loved one prematurely because of suicide. Instead of having your world come crashing down around you, there are strategies to help someone who is suicidal that you can try.
How to Help Someone with Suicidal Thoughts
Having a loved one who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or who has attempted suicide
before is scary. All you want to do is help them, but this is easier said than done. Suicidal idealization is often rooted in mental health
problems, and like with mental illnesses, you cannot just talk someone out of suicide or hope they snap out of it on their own.
Our behavioral health treatment center in Boca
is sharing some tips on how to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts so that you can be there for your loved one in need.
Recognize the Signs
The first step in learning how to help someone contemplating suicide is to understand the warning signs of suicide. Suicidal idealization is different for everyone, but some general signs of a suicidal person include:
- Depression or hopelessness
- Feeling like a burden to others
- Social withdrawal
- Signs of self-harm
- Talking or joking about death
- Bad sleep habits
- Saying goodbye to people
- Giving away possessions or getting their affairs in order
- Relief or sudden improvement in mood usually from decided to go through with it
If someone you care about is exhibiting these symptoms, it is time to act. Getting them help sooner rather than later could keep their problems from escalating or keep them from doing something they will regret. Right now they may only need depression treatment
, but without help, they may start considering suicide.
Find Out More
If someone you care about comes forward about experiencing suicidal thoughts or says it in passing, you need to take their threat seriously. Gently ask more questions. How long have they felt this way? Have they tried to commit suicide before? What are they doing for help? Why do they feel this way? The more questions you ask, the more you can understand their situation and how serious it is.
Listen & Be Supportively
It can be difficult to know how to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, but sometimes your loved one just needs someone to talk to more than anything. Allow them to talk freely by listening without judgment. When they are done talking, make sure you remind them that you love and care about them. If they know they have someone they can talk to, it may help them deal with their feelings of hopelessness or depression.
Get Them Out
If you know that someone you care about is depressed or struggling with inner demons, they are likely to withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed and their loved ones. This isolation can make matters worse. Do your best to get your loved one out and about. Ask them to lunch at their favorite restaurant, watch the big game together, or try something new together. These activities may help remind your loved one that there is something worth living for.
Do Not Leave Them Alone
If you fear that your loved one is suicidal and has a plan in place to take their own life, do not leave them alone.
Get Professional Help
Unless you are a psychiatrist by profession, you are not equipped to handle this situation alone. You may not know how to talk someone out of killing themselves, but knowing how to get help for someone who is suicidal is just as important. You can enlist the help of someone who has experience in this field. Find them a psychiatrist or psychologist to talk to and take them to their appointments. Research a residential mental program
and help them with the admissions process. If they are hesitant at first, you can also direct them to a hotline.
If you believe that someone you care about could be suicidal or needs help, do not wait to act. Although many people who threaten to commit suicide never actually do it, every threat should be taken seriously, and such talk is a sign that at least something is wrong.
At Banyan Mental Health, we help people with various mental health disorders find relief for their symptoms and move forward to happier lives. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- Suicide statistics