Community//

Someone you know and love mentioned suicide, now what?…

How to help, Next Steps, and Resources.

Suicide is a global issue. It is not limited to race, gender, age bracket, or location. Suicide, as of now a noteworthy issue, is continuing to rapidly grow: A report distributed by the U.S. Communities for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 found that rates have increased rapidly between 2006 and 2016. 

While numerous elements contribute to passings by suicide, specialists point to an alarming absence of awareness, openness or lack thereof to the topic, and access to proficient treatment as a component. An intersection of barricades exists – from the shame of looking for assistance, to the trouble of finding an advisor within reach, to the money related speculation that is distant for many individuals thus prohibiting one from receiving the assistance that one may so desperately need. Specialists stress that instruction and mindfulness around emotional wellness issues can help, but most importantly we must begin to tear down negative generalizations and urge others to get help.

I am trained in suicide intervention and certified through the Didi Hirsch program. Please note: I am not a therapist nor a psychiatrist. My training is merely the first responder middle man, so to bring someone to a safe space and then connect them with a professional therapist or support group. As we all know, suicide is a major concern of the 21stcentury. It is becoming increasingly common in youth with stories permeating the news of children as young as 8 and even 6 who have in recent years fell victim to suicide; many of this caused by feelings of failure in life or societal pressure. 

We as humans are all seeking a state of bliss, of happiness, and fulfillment. A happy life generally comes from a balanced life, having strong relationships, and a sense of togetherness or also referred to as community.

There is an epidemic of loneliness and isolation even with the onslaught of social media … which one would find almost comical at his time since Instagram/facebook are the very tools bringing individuals from all over the world straight to your fingertips. 

What we need today is intimacy.  It has become one of the most crucial of all human needs beyond the basic survival needs of food and shelter.  Intimacy meaning I see, hear, and feel you”. A feeling of closeness and togetherness. It is that somebody understands, and would be there for you anytime and always feeling. Someone who you feel will have your back and will be the one who will support and draw you out of the crisis, be it economic or social. We all want to have somebody that is close to us to whom we can share anything, someone who we feel will not judge us no matter what. We should not have to limit ourselves, limit our conversations or speak with fear of repercussions. In my experience, individuals who feel suicidal generally believe that there isn’t a single person in this universe who understands or hears them. This creates such a pressure of unbearable pain that a person feels like escaping the world by any means necessary.

Now, you don’t get here – to this feeling, this state – in a day or even a month. This is quite some time that a person has sunk lower and lower until this thought of wanting to get back to bliss takes such a toll that the fastest or most surest route seems only possible through suicide.

So if you have a person in your life that is talking of suicide, my recommendation is to actively create a block of time you can devote solely to this individual. With no phone, no laundry, no work… where you can sit and talk and listen with no distractions. A difficult but powerful pain healer is eye contact. Be courageous enough to look at them in their eyes and say, “What can I do to help you?” The FIRST thing you need to do is find out how serious the threat is.  You HAVE to ask the painful questions and find out about their plan. Do they have a very specific plan all created? If so, THIS IS SERIOUS. And the next step is to figure how can you remove the access to tools/methods they may have mentioned. 

If they want to but are unsure of specifics yet, then you have caught them at a safe-er place. But, you still need to figure how can you remove the access to any mentioned methods. THEN, you need to sit with uninterrupted time with this person. NO judgment. NO opinions. Sit and truly listen. Say “help me to understand. I want to HEAR from you” “What do you think right now can make you feel a little bit better?” If you are a parent this is going to be hard and your ego is going to say things like, “that’s not true, I try or I care…” or “that’s not true, you do have people who love you” or “I work so hard so that you can…” THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR THAT CONVERSATION. You need to sit and LISTEN, with your mouth closed.

If you are a parent, it is incredibly important for your child to have meaningful friendships. I can not stress this enough. In fact, it is your duty to help create and nourish these friendships. If your child is feeling suicidal they typically feel that they do not have any strong friends or anyone who truly gets them whether its friends, classmates, or a family member.  Now you can’t build friends in a day. I get that, however, you can start to build a sense of community (togetherness).  Reach out to your friends and family and see if they would be willing to have a (monitored) playdate (time focused on loving on a child), but also other more immediate solutions (depending on the age of the child) are resources that are textlines, apps, or online chat forums.

I ran an in-person support group in LA for nearly 3 years and I have found that these days many kids/youth are strongly opposed to a 1-800 hotline. The idea of calling a stranger on the phone is daunting and overwhelming. And, many do not want to speak out loud due to issues of being heard in the home, out in public, or on school grounds… so a texting/chat option is better in this case. Help connect them to any of the resources listed below and then you as a parent need to seek out a professional in your area.

Think outside the box. You must be willing to have an open mindset and explore new avenues in ways you have never experienced, or even heard of. What may work for one may not be the solution for another, so don’t look for the cookie cutter response. 

Look for support groups in your area. Look to help create positive new habits (and these apply to all ages) Yoga, meditation class, breathwork sessions, painting class, sound baths, float tanks, boxing class, taekwondo… Anything that requires a centered, positive focus will assist during this time. Someone who is suicidal is someone who is feeling overwhelmed and thinking too far ahead… Create moments/opportunities that bring the person to a focused state, right-here-in-this-moment type of feelings, because right here at this standalone moment, he/she can be okay. And in these activities are where he/she can start to build a sense of community again. Research the below and find what you feel is the best resource for their needs at this time. 

Written with so much love from one who has battled tremendous depression over the years and now lives on the other side. 

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