The awareness of mental health and mental wellbeing has increased significantly in recent years, and people are now more aware of their own mental wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of those around them. However, many people are still uncomfortable talking about suicide or suicidal thoughts or feelings.
If someone tells us they’re feeling suicidal, it can be hard to know what to say. Here are a few tips about how to have those conversations.
How can I support someone in a crisis?
Ask open questions – these are questions that invite someone to say more than yes or no, such as ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘what happened next?’
Try not to judge – it’s important not to blame the person for how they are feeling. They may have taken a big step by telling you.
Take them seriously – people who talk about suicide do sometimes act on their feelings – it’s best to assume they’re telling the truth about feeling suicidal.
Give them time and listen – You might find it difficult to hear their answers, but it helps if you let them take the time they need.
Don’t skirt around the topic – talking about suicide can still feel taboo, but asking direct questions like ‘are you having suicidal thoughts?’ or ‘have you felt like you want to end your life?’ can help someone talk.
If you’re worried someone’s at immediate risk of taking their life, it’s best to:
- Stay with them
- Encourage them to call Samaritans for free on 116 123
- Or contact Central North West London NHS Trust’s Single Point of Access (SPA) – a first point of contact for people experiencing a mental health crisis: 0800 0234 650
- Go to the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E)
→ Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, 369 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9NH
→ The Royal Marsden Hospital, 203 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JJ
→ St Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, London W2 1NY
- Call 999
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts yourself, Mind has some information you may find helpful, including how you can access treatment and support.
Mental health emergencies are serious. You’re not wasting anyone’s time.
Please take care of yourself.
Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 20th April 2021