Friday 10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day.
It can be a difficult topic to discuss.
We wanted to share 10 tips for when speaking with someone about suicide.
Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that they are not alone. Finding the right words are not nearly as important as showing your concern.
Listen. Let your friend or loved one vent and unload their feelings. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it is taking place is a positive sign.
Be sympathetic and non-judgmental. The suicidal person is doing the right thing by talking about their feelings, no matter how difficult it may be to hear.
Offer hope. Reassure your loved one that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that their life is important to you.
Take the person seriously. If a suicidal person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask if they’re having thoughts of suicide. You’re allowing them to share their pain with you, not putting ideas in their head.
Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Just snap out of it.”
Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or argue that suicide is wrong.
Promise confidentiality or be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word.
Offer ways to fix your loved one’s problems, give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.
Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Your friend or loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.
When speaking with someone who is suicidal, you should be doing a risk assessment. Are they suicidal? Can they be left alone? Have they reached out for professional help; is this something you can do with them?
Some resources and Charities below:
116 123 (24 hours)
Text Shout to 85258 (24 hours)
0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight)
Papyrus: Under 35's
0800 068 41 41 (9am - midnight)
Remember, you can also call 999 if you believe the person is an immediate risk to themselves or others. It is an emergency, so don't be afraid to treat it like one.
Elite Force Safety design and deliver tailored programmes to companies, if you want more information about our mental health training programmes, get in touch.