Earlier in the week we shared a TED Talk about how to start a conversation about suicide. In the last few months we have had a number of big name celebrities die from suicide. Our media once again has become saturated with those who many of us look up to and their decision to take their own lives.
Whether you think that posting about it, talking about it, or sharing about it glorifies suicide or supports prevention, there are a few basic steps we all need to be reminded of to help someone close to use who might be struggling.
According to Elana Premack Sandler L.C.S.W, M.P.H and her article on Psychology Today, there are 5 simple steps for suicide prevention.
- Keep Them Safe
- Be There
- Help Them Connect
- Follow Up
It is hard to know what to do when someone we love has started to talk about suicide. Do we talk to them about it? Do we call for help? Do we ignore it and hope it goes away? Do we force them to get help?
These days there are a number of suicide prevention numbers and hotlines to call. 1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Hotline, and here in Arizona there is a local number called Empact 480-784-1514
But when you are close to someone and see them struggling, it’s easy to be unsure of what to do. These 5 simple steps are easy to remember, and can help someone you love get the help they need.
Sometimes we are afraid of asking if someone is thinking about taking their own life, but we need to ask these tough questions. It opens the door for our loved ones to know that we care about them, and are concerned. When we take action to keep them safe, we can keep a situation from escalating.
We can keep them on the phone, go over to their house if possible, send a neighbor or a friend over while we are connecting them with phone numbers or other resources for help.
It is important to follow up with our loved one and ask them how they are doing. By following up we are letting that person know we care about their long term health and happiness, and are willing to step in to keep them safe.