Everyone sometimes feels sad, depressed, stressed, or angry, especially when dealing with pressures from school, friends, family, and society. However, some people may not be able to overcome the feeling of hopelessness, which can lead to suicidal thoughts. One of your friends might be struggling lately, and when you try reaching out to them, they reply with I’m thinking about suicide. The sound of that word frightens you.
A friend of yours with suicidal thoughts may not necessarily have a clear plan or specific time, but they are just looking for ways to overcome their unbearable pains. You should know that it is a normal thing to feel helpless whenever your friend makes mention of suicide however, there are a lot of ways you can be of help to them.
Below are warning signs that your friend may be thinking of suicide;
- Talking about suicide or death
- Frequent talks about the feeling of hopelessness or having no reason to live
- Unusual engagement in self-destructive behaviour such as drinking a lot of alcohol, using drugs, driving recklessly, or cutting themselves.
- Avoids spending time with people
Having a friend who’s talking about suicide or showing any of the signs listed above, and you care about their well-being. However, if you’ve never had such thoughts and you certainly have no idea of what to say, here are some tips you can employ to help them out;
- Ask them directly: You can get hold of your friend’s thoughts by asking a few important questions about suicide. You might be worried that by asking, you’re planting the idea of suicide however, according to research, this fact has proven to be 100% untrue. Be prepared for their answers and talk to a trusted individual to get the help needed. So, If you’re worried, ask.
- Take them at their word: There is a common belief that people talk about suicide to get attention. However, this is not the case for most people. Therefore, it is safe to assume your friend meant what they said when they mentioned suicide.
- Pay attention to their language and behaviour: Your friend may talk about suicide in an unclear way, and you can’t always tell when a loved one or friend is contemplating suicide however, you can study their language, mood, and actions for any sign of suicidal thoughts. These signs might not always mean your friend is suicidal however, it never hurts to have a conversation with them whenever their actions or language gives you concerns.
- Offer compassion: If your friend has suicidal thoughts, what you say to them matters. Refrain from being judgemental because what might seem like a small fix to you can seem hopeless to someone. Therefore, ensure you acknowledge their feelings and offer hope and support.
- Get help from a trained professional: You can encourage them to see a therapist. Make calls and check in regularly to see how they are and to know if they’ve done that.
Suicidal thoughts aren’t uncommon. Helping a friend who’s suicidal can be emotionally draining, so ensure you take care of yourself too. When it becomes too difficult, lure your friend to meet a psychiatrist.
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