23 Sep Steps to Take If You Feel a Loved One Who May Be Struggling with Suicidal Ideation
Over the years, mental health issues, such as suicidal thoughts, have been taken much more seriously than in the past. It’s a step in the right direction, as no one wants to see their loved one struggle with mental health issues.
If it’s expected that someone is showing suicidal thoughts, it’s better to take action than to sit around and do nothing. It’s common for people to want to protect anyone with those thoughts, but it can feel like a helpless situation in real time.
With September being National Suicide Prevention Month, it’s time to talk about suicide prevention! What are the best methods to keep in mind as suicide rates climb? Let’s take a look at what we can do to help those in need.
Ask Them How They Feel
It’s common for the average person to fear talking about suicidal thoughts with someone showing warning signs. Is talking about it going to send them into a downward spiral? In most cases, it’s recommended not to keep quiet and to open up honest communication as quickly as possible.
This means asking how someone feels while showing that the answer matters. Most people naturally act as if nothing is wrong, quickly brushing off simple “how are you?” questions. But putting the effort out there shows that you care.
Sometimes, a direct question might be the best method. Don’t accuse them of having suicidal thoughts, but create a discussion and start putting together plans to get help if necessary.
If someone is feeling overwhelmed, this might be the help they need to start reasoning and step away from suicide ideation.
A natural reaction for any person with suicidal thoughts is to avoid admitting their struggle at first. Getting real answers from a person with suicidal thoughts might take a little time, but a non-judgemental attitude can help.
Don’t attempt to have all the answers because every situation is different. It’s better to discuss what’s happening rather than try to fix everything as quickly as possible.
Typical Warning Signs
Suicide very rarely comes out of thin air. Here are some warning signs you can look out for.
- Talking and obsessing about death
- Expressing hopelessness
- Loss of interest in former passions
- Cutting off family and friends
- Sudden school struggles
- Overall risky behavior
With these warning signs in mind, anyone with a history of mental illness should be monitored closely. That means anyone struggling with depression, personality disorders, substance abuse, and more should have watchful eyes on them at all times.
This also goes for anyone who has gone through suicide attempts. If there’s an increase in substance use, there is an increased risk of suicide since people are willing to take more risks when they are under the influence.
Monitor any type of substance use, and encourage cutting it down altogether.
Reaching Out for Professional Assistance
If someone is showing suicidal thoughts, professional care is the best way to get help. Not everyone is eager to get care this way, but going to a therapist can help tremendously. They have the professional experience to work with people and determine what’s wrong.
Ultimately, they have to decide on going through with help or not.
Identifying a Crisis Situation
Talking about suicide is one thing, but when they start crafting an actual plan, it’s a mental health crisis that should be treated as an emergency. There’s usually no other solution than to have them call/text a suicide hotline like 988 or get medical assistance immediately.
Allow them to do it for themselves first, but don’t feel afraid to call on their behalf if they don’t cooperate. Throw any code out the window, as this isn’t about ratting someone out or getting them in trouble. This is about saving a life.
Getting Back on Track
A loved one has gone through suicidal thoughts, devised a plan, and received medical treatment after reaching out to a doctor. This isn’t the end of the line, as those suicidal thoughts can creep back into anyone’s head later on.
True friends and family members will try to encourage them on a journey to full recovery. Staying connected with loved ones makes a huge difference. Giving small encouragement can lift anyone’s spirits.
There are plenty of instances where people have been through suicide scares in the past, received help, and now are on the right path they’ve always wanted. It’s a journey without question, but it’s possible with the right mentality.
Why Having Positive Influential Peers is Important
Every single person with suicidal thoughts has people in their life who genuinely care about them. In an age where so many people get caught up in their own life, it’s necessary to take the time to provide support when needed.
Taking the proper steps for a loved one struggling with suicidal ideation doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. It’s a learning process for everyone along the way, but it’s possible to prevent the worst from happening with the right approach.