In adolescence to adulthood, we find ourselves in situations and with problems that we would have never expected to be in. Frankly, I am learning that I, though I would like to believe I am, am not above any situation. Anything can happen to you at any point in time. More often than not, it can happen to someone around you, too. Someone you care about could very well be dealing with the monster that is suicidal thoughts. In our society, it is a universal concept. So how do you communicate with someone who could be dealing with woes of wanting to end their own lives? Frankly, there is no formula.
However, there are some practical things you can do to help these people (that is, if they come to you for help):
#1. Don’t Assume a Problem is Not a Problem
Just because you do not feel that a problem is worth killing yourself over, doesn’t mean that they feel the same. You can not use your ideologies as a basis for helping them. In turn, you can appear to be judgmental and make them feel even more inadequate for going to someone who simply couldn’t empathize – leaving them with the notion that no one truly understands. As according to metanoia, “It’s not how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting the person who has it.”
#2. Understand and Empathize with Them
Suicidal thoughts are more common than not. Generally, everyone at one point or another feels the urge to end their lives. The difference between normality and depression is if they think about it more fully – think of ways to execute it, think of a plan. Understand that suicidal tendencies are more about feeling unable to deal with life than they are desiring death. Suicidal people often feel powerless over their circumstances, hopelessness that life will never get better, among other things.
#3. Encourage Them
In the past, I have seen people “care” with their own brand of it. It is very disheartening when someone that you trust wishes to run off with your information and seek help for you. The fact is – you are doing more damage then. What that does is show the person that you are not to be trusted – which in fact, can make them feel even more isolated, considering you have no clue if they ever were going to approach anyone else, or simply just you. Instead of telling them what to do, encourage them to seek help outside of your ability. Whether it be simply talking about it to more people who they feel will help, to going to a professional and seeking help, encouragement is necessary.
At the end of the day, what helps is to simply be there for them. Your presence alone can be enough to keep them hanging on for enough time to seek help. To see the better side to life that can keep them here, but more importantly, happy or content.