If someone in your life is suffering from depression or another mental illness and you think they might be struggling with suicidal thoughts then there are important steps to take. You will need to do what you can to approach the situation appropriately and convince them to get help. Being there for someone when they are experiencing a crisis can help save their life.
Follow these steps for suicide prevention:
- Ask them directly – Approaching someone about the subject can start with simply asking them “have you been thinking about suicide?” Finding out how they are doing and communicating with them in a non-judgemental way can let you know where they are mentally.
- Establish safety – After you begin the discussion it is important to find out a few more details of their situation in order to ensure safety. Has this person attempted suicide before? Do they have a plan or method that they have access to? If the person is in immediate danger then you may have to contact authorities right away.
- Be there for them – If it seems like they are not in immediate danger then you can take the next step of being there to listen and help them. Being physically present with them or talking with them on the phone can allow you to provide support for them when they are experiencing a crisis.
- Help them connect – Someone who is having thoughts of suicide will need help from a counselor. The next step is to get them connected with a suicide helpline, therapist or other type of support so that they be guided through their feelings.
- Follow up – After the person has connected with some type of support it is still important to follow up with them and see how they are doing. You can call or offer other ways to help so that they feel supported.