Suicide Prevention Month: How to have a conversation and keep yourself or someone else safe. #BEThe1to
By Andrea Schramm, MA, LPC
September is National Suicide Prevention month. Here is some information on how to recognize and support yourself or someone else if you or someone else may be thinking about or contemplating suicide. How do we know what another person is feeling? What might we hear in conversation or see in their behavior?
Feelings of hopelessness and an inability to see one’s self through a problem can distort a person’s view of their situation and lead to feeling there is no way out of what is troubling them. An increase in isolation and disengagement from normal activities of interest can also indicate a person is struggling with feeling worthless or hopeless. People will often think, “I can’t live with this anymore, I would be better off not here anymore, this is so painful” or “I am the cause of other’s problems, and they would be better off if I wasn’t here.” If you or someone you know is experiencing these thoughts, a safety plan can help support efforts to redirect suicidal thoughts. Safety plans include who you will reach out to when you feel suicidal, ways you can redirect your thoughts and change your view by engaging in activities and who your support people are when you feel hopeless or have suicidal thoughts. It is important to listen for and respond to thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and feeling trapped with no identifiable way out of what is troubling you or someone else.
How can we listen and recognize when someone close to us is have suicidal thoughts? Don’t be afraid to: ASK if you suspect someone might be considering suicide. Listen for those feelings of not being able to solve their problem, feeling hopeless, worthless, and stuck. People can experience feelings of relief when asked about their troubling thoughts.
BE THERE. Don’t engage in problem solving or minimize their problem and resist giving advice, listen without judgement, as this approach can increase hopefulness and decrease suicidal thoughts.
KEEP THEM SAFE. Reduce any lethal means such as firearms or medications as this can reduce suicide attempts.
HELP THEM STAY CONNECTED. Help them create a simple safety plan with people they can reach out to, places they can redirect their feelings in positive ways and things they can focus on to experience positive feelings and hopefulness.
FOLLOW UP with the person as this basic level of ongoing support can be an important part of suicide prevention.
LEARN MORE. Here is a link to the 5 action steps to helping someone who may be suicidal. https://www.bethe1to.com/bethe1to-steps-evidence/
Let’s all have a conversation about Suicide Prevention.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!