Knowing that someone close to you is thinking about suicide and having suicidal tendencies, in general, can be extremely distressful, but for the sake of your friend, you need to pull yourself together and help them. There’s no easy way to tackle suicide and the thought process that leads to it.
There is no ‘right’ way to do this, but these are some general things that you need to help out in the situation:
Take them seriously when they ever mention they “s” word
As a society we often brush off talk of suicide as being extremely dramatic or attention seeking. Listen, NO! Do not take suicide lightly. You need to be there for that person.
Don’t tell them they’re in the wrong
Something has pushed them to this point, and this is something serious. Don’t start debates on if suicide is the ‘right’ way to go about it. You have to be a good friend, and that means just being there for them.
Don’t suffocate them by constantly monitoring them
Yes it does seem like I’m contradicting myself, but listen, you don’t need to literally always be there. They need room, and forcing yourself is not going to make things better.
If you ask them to talk to you be ready for them to blame you, don’t take that to heart
It doesn’t always happen, but when someone who’s contemplating suicide comes out with their reasons, you need to prepare yourself to get part of that blame. You might think that you didn’t really do anything that bad, but its the tiniest things that can set someone off. If you’re ever in this position, don’t try to justify your actions, don’t make it about yourself. Also just keep in mind that the word ‘sorry’ might not mean anything to that person anymore. Just listen.
Even small gestures from you can make them feel better
And also, with little gestures, telling them that you truly care about them and their well being.
Its totally okay to ask for help from others that you trust
It isn’t fair to have such a large burden thrown on your suddenly. Some people can deal with such situations very well but others cannot. Ask for help from people you trust. You aren’t just helping yourself but also the person suffering.
Remember, just because they’re suicidal, that doesn’t mean you can’t stop their action
Obviously not by force. But your words and actions have a massive impact on them and their lives in that moment.
Help them but DON’T give them cliched reasons to not commit suicide
‘Think about your family’
‘There is more to life, come on!’
Do not say this to anyone who’s having suicidal thoughts. You can appear to be judgmental and unsympathetic. Suicide is much more serious and can definitely cannot be solved just because ‘there’s more to life’.
Don’t wait for them to come to you with their problem, reach out if you see signs
First off, in a situation like this it isn’t wise to wait around for the person to call you, they’re the ones who need help and maybe they don’t know how to ask for it. You need to make yourself available and approachable. And again, as said before, it helps to portray the fact that you care.
Be yourself around them, they want you to be your true self to help them back to life
Don’t try too hard. Your care and your love will come through in your actions. Don’t be tense around them, just make it your mission to give them as safe a place as possible.
Suicide is serious, and it can be scary when someone you know is contemplating it. Just breathe in, be yourself and be present. Your presence in that moment is what matters.
Cover image via: iaac.us