Shame often keeps people who are at risk of suicide from speaking up or seeking help but talking with them is critical in prevention. Often social withdrawal is one sign that a friend or family member might be struggling. If you’ve noticed a loved one pulling back or isolating themselves, experts advise reaching out and saying you’ve notice changes in them. Ask if they are OK and don’t hesitate to suggest they seek professional counseling for a proper assessment.
Language such as, “I’m just so glad you told me,” gives that person permission to feel they’re not alone. It’s OK to ask, “Are you considering suicide?”
Rather than triggering the individual into committing suicide, the question is important in acknowledging their suffering. Refusing to talk about suffering increases their isolation and the sense they are the only one dealing with this.
Resources for individuals in crisis include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Crisis support in Spanish is available at 1-888-628-9454.
The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.
Members of the LGBTQ community can call the TrevorLifeline for suicide prevention counseling services at 1-866-488-7386.
Veterans can find support on the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.