Mental Health Blogs
The five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal are supported by evidence in the field of suicide prevention.
How – Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner, can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken. Other questions you can ask include, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” Do not ever promise to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.
The flip side of the “Ask” step is to “Listen.” Make sure you take their answers seriously and not to ignore them, especially if they indicate they are experiencing thoughts of suicide. Listening to their reasons for being in such emotional pain, as well as listening for any potential reasons they want to continue to stay alive, are both incredibly important when they are telling you what’s going on. Help them focus on their reasons for living and avoid trying to impose your reasons for them to stay alive.
Why – Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. In fact, studies suggest the opposite: findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.
Have you ever observed someone so afraid of germs that they must wash their hands excessively? Seen someone step over cracks because they think something bad will happen to them? Watch someone repeatedly check to see if they left the lights on? These are all examples of people suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a highly intrusive problem that affects over two million people in the United States alone. Click here to read more about OCD and what can be done to treat this invasive disorder.
About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – that’s nearly 9 million people. Of those diagnosed with PTSD, 37 percent are classified as having severe symptoms. That means someone around you might be struggling with PTSD after facing a traumatic event, such as an accident, assault, witnessing something terrible happen, or mass traumatic event.
It’s important to know that Mental Health First Aid might not always be possible immediately after the traumatic event. Sometimes trauma is not a single incident, and Mental Health First Aid should be administered when the first aider becomes aware of the problem.
But there are other ways you can offer support to someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Click here to read more!
If you are having a crisis, please dial 911, or call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Sisters Taking On the Prevention of Suicide does not provide its own crisis hotline nor its own counseling services.
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