We recently wrote a blog post about what to do if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Today, we want to share some advice on what to do if a loved one is thinking about taking their own life. There are many reasons why someone may think about suicide, and if they are exposed to a ‘risk factor’ it is typically more likely for suicidal thoughts to occur. Think about whether your loved one has experienced/ is experiencing any of the following: a traumatic life event, relationship breakdown, death of a relative or friend, substance abuse, mental health issues, physical illness or condition, financial stress. If a loved one has experienced any of these, even if you don’t suspect they are having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to make it known that you are there to support them.
So what are the warning signs that someone may be thinking about taking their own life?
Unfortunately, a lot of people feel as though they don’t want to open up about their feelings. They might try to hide their feelings and convince those around them that they are okay. However, you may notice a change in their personality or behaviour. Perhaps they are more anxious, irritable or confrontational. Becoming withdraw, quiet, having mood swings, acting recklessly are also typical of those struggling with their mental health and suicidal thoughts. There are some indicators that suggest someone is more likely to attempt suicide such as; threatening to hurt or kill themselves, talking about death, putting their affairs in order such as giving away belongings or making a will.
How can you help someone who is showing signs of suicidal thoughts?
If you suspect a loved one is feeling suicidal, sit them down and encourage them to talk about their feelings. These are some things you can do to help them:
- Tell them that you care and that they are not alone.
- Let them know that you would like to try to understand what they are feeling.
- Make sure you’re non-judgemental when talking with them. Don’t be critical.
- Ensure they know that you are listening. It can be helpful to repeat what they say back to them in your own words, this also makes sure that you understand them correctly.
- Ask them whether they have felt like this before. If they have, it can be beneficial to talk about what made their feelings change previously.
- Let them know that these feelings will not last forever.
- Encourage them to seek professional help. This can be from a GP, counsellor or even from a charity such as Samaritans who they can call on 116 123 at any time.
- If you think that they are in immediate danger, make sure that you do not leave them alone. If you need to go somewhere, arrange for a friend or family member to keep them company.
It’s also really important to get help and support for yourself. Supporting someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts can really take a toll on your mental health, so it’s incredibly important that you protect it by practising self-care. Get in touch with Dalton Wise today and we can help you protect your wellbeing.
How can you spot signs of mental health issues in a loved one? Click HERE to find out.