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July 20, 2023
To get started let's go over some facts:
What to do:
Check in on your people
94% of us believe that we can prevent suicide. That is huge. We need one another. We are social creatures. We thrive off and need connection. The first thing is to decrease the stigma around suicide. Check in on your people, and don’t be afraid to really ask them how they are doing. Check in on people who are withdrawing. You never know, people may seem like they are doing fine. By checking in on others, you could be saving lives.
Offer Love & Support
Now, if someone does open up to you about their suicidal thoughts, we first want to offer love and support. It takes a lot of courage to open up and seek help from others about suicide. It may be hard to know what to say, but just be human. Express and acknowledge their courage. Tell them you are here for them. Help them feel your support and that you are here to help them figure this out. Allow them the space to further express themselves and their needs. Above all else, love them. Give a listening ear. Validate and acknowledge what they are expressing and feeling.
Assess the seriousness of the situation
Once we have offered love, we need to assess the seriousness of the situation. Ask them what their thoughts are. Are they passing, intrusive, lingering, or intense? Get a look into their brain and see what that inner dialogue is like. What is causing them to feel the way they are?
Ask these 3 Questions:
Do they have a plan?
After we get a good idea on what these thoughts are, you want to ask them if they have any plans to take their life. Have they thought of a way to take their life? If so, is it detailed? Do they have a date, time, way to avoid others? You want to understand how thought out this plan is and how serious is this plan.
Do they have intent?
The next thing to check for is, does this person have intent? Meaning, does this person have the desire to actually complete suicide. How set are they on carrying this out?
Do they have the means to complete it?
The last thing you want to check for is, does this person have the means to complete suicide? Do they have a gun, pills, etc. in order to be able to complete their plan? If so, we need to remove the means they have.
Time for action.
The seriousness of the situation will determine what you do.It is critical that you get adults and professionals involved. You do not need to carry this alone, nor are you trained to know what to do. Encourage this loved one to seek out mental health professionals. If able and appropriate, help them to do so. If the individual has the plans, intent, and means means to carry out and complete suicide, you need to get them to an ER or mental health inpatient facility to be evaluated. They need to get the proper level of care. Always air on the side of caution.
It can seem intimidating, but it is important to remain calm. Your love and support is enough. Do what you can, and always remember to seek help from professionals. It is important we debunk the idea that talking about suicide leads individuals to carry it out. That is 100% false. Talking openly about suicide will only help the situation, not make it worse. Remain calm, offer love & support, and try your best.
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