The 10th September marks World Suicide Prevention Day – A chance for us all to come together to raise awareness and create a world where fewer people die by suicide.
If someone you know is suicidal or expressing thoughts of self-harm, it’s essential to take their feelings seriously and act promptly. Here are some steps you can take to help.
- Stay calm and listen: Approach the person with empathy and understanding. Allow them to express their feelings without judgement or interruption. Sometimes, talking about their thoughts can provide some relief.
- Don’t leave them alone: If the person is in immediate danger, do not leave them alone. Stay with them or ensure that someone else can stay with them until you can get professional help.
- Encourage professional help: Suggest that they speak to a mental health professional. Offer to assist them in finding resources or making appointments.
- Contact emergency services: If the person is in immediate danger or has a plan to harm themselves, call emergency services right away.
- Remove any potential means of self-harm: If there are any dangerous objects or substances around, try to remove them from the person’s vicinity.
- Reach out to their support network: Inform friends, family, or any other close individuals about the situation so they can provide additional support.
- Encourage self-help resources: Offer them information about helplines, suicide prevention websites, or support groups where they can find assistance and understanding.
- Avoid promising secrecy: While you should respect their privacy, it’s crucial to involve professionals or trusted individuals who can help keep the person safe.
- Follow up: Continue to check on the person and show them that you care. Follow-up care is essential in providing ongoing support.
Remember, as a concerned individual, you are not expected to be a mental health professional. Your role is to provide support and encourage the person to seek appropriate help from trained experts. If you’re unsure about what to do or need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out.