Please take this post just as a different perspective and from someone who’s been on the support end of people who’ve been suicidal, to the point of holding a friend in my arms who was bleeding out and some close friends who have taken their own lives far too soon.
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on suicide awareness lately and have even been personally asked to share a green heart on my wall to show that I have an open door and ears for anyone who needs to talk it out and feeling suicidal. The problem isn’t that I don’t support raising awareness about it, my problem is that social media is often a BIG part of the problem of why people become and feel suicidal in the first place and posting a green heart doesn’t help the matter.
If we are to really make a change in the way we support people who are feeling in the dark and isolated, we need to start looking UP and asking those around us how they are and CONNECT with each other. It’s not easy to admit to someone that you want to die, especially when you can rationalize in everyday conversations, all the reasons you have to live. If you have someone in your life who you love and needs help, tell them over a cup of tea, while you work out, while you grab lunch that you noticed they’re down and ask them how they are and listen. Just listen, listen, listen and ask if they’re seeking professional help and that they’re not alone, you’re with them and BE PREPARED to be with them.
While you have the best intentions of being there for your friend, be prepared yourself too, to be on call 24/7, to run over there at a moment’s notice and to have your own support network in the know too. One of the toughest parts of coming out the other side of a good friend wanting to take their own life was getting professional help myself, talking to a psychotherapist and making sure that I was dealing with the event in a healing way.
If you do lose a friend to suicide, talk about it with each other. I saw that among men, it was difficult for them to talk about but it’s necessary, talk to someone you trust and talk with your friends who are mourning with you. It’s nothing to be ashamed about and in sharing, we can create more understanding and a closer tribe to help those who are struggling and don’t see any other way out.
If you become the person to support a loved on who is suicidal, help them create a network of people they can call in the event that they can’t get a hold of you. I would also highly recommend putting the number of The Samaritans hotline 2896-0000 into their phone. They give great training for their volunteers and I am fortunate to know some of the very good people who volunteer.