Asking about suicide is a sensitive matter. You might begin to politely ask if you see the signs such as sudden calmness, withdrawal, or making preparations after experiencing recent trauma or life crisis.
But sometimes people lose hope to the point that they will confidently answer yes if you ask them if they are thinking about suicide. It might be challenging to address, but here are the key steps to help them recover from their situation.
Be Grateful for Their Answer
The person who is thinking about already trusted you to the point that they answer yes. So an appropriate just your this to say thanks for their trust. They anticipate adverse reactions such as guilt, shame, criticism, and judgement. But hearing a new perspective provides them with a sense of dignity and respect.
Assurance to Listen More
Like any other problem shared with you, it’s polite to ask for the details if you want to offer help. An excellent way to start listening more of their concern is asking with assurance to hear more. Questions like “I’ve got your back, but can you please provide me the details about your suicidal thoughts?” will help them ease their load.
Avoid offering immediate help when conversing with people with suicidal thoughts. It loses their sense of empowerment, and they already know that they need assistance. Keep in mind that you are already helping when listening to their story.
Provide Them with Hope, Choice, and Empowerment
Doing things out of love doesn’t need to feel forced for the other person. Provide them with a feeling of empowerment by letting them choose their destiny, which is how they want to make their escape. There are several things they still want to do aside from attempting suicide. Try asking them “what do you want to do next before making your next decision?”
Depending on their situation, another way to provide a choice is expressing the idea of reciprocity. Saying “I want to help you, but you might need to help me too” will help them feel that they are not burdens. The feeling of empowerment will replace the frustration that distorts their mind.
Acknowledgement and Follow Up
They already experienced frustration, rejection, and discrimination, so they don’t want to suffer from the “hot potato effect.” it’s the feeling when a series of therapists continuously refer them to each other, bouncing people to someone else who does the same. Avoid this action which demoralises these people, making them feel worthless and unlovable.
What do you need to do instead is congratulate their resilience to help avoid this situation. Ask the suicidal person where they want to continue the conversation. Tell them that they have become experts in fighting against despair. It might be better to help them record their coping journey. Make a plan to reconnect before ending your conversation with suicidal people.
Starting to Get Help
You can offer them getting help after that such as asking “if it’s ok with you, can I accompany you with your first appointment so I can also get watching how to best support you?” Be careful when offering help with people living with suicidal thoughts. Making them feel that they matter include checking in, or “non-demand caring contacts.” try sending them messages of acknowledgement, or even funny cat videos.
Start Saving Lives Today
Treat it as a gift if someone discloses their suicidal thoughts to you. It’s your opportunity to do good and save a life, but be careful along your way. It can be scary to hear about a painful situation, but your presence can make a huge difference in their recovery.