World Suicide Prevention Day

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    It is world suicide prevention day. In the UK and Ireland approximately 18 people a day die by suicide. Although talking about suicide can feel frightening, and there can never really be a good time for a difficult conversation, if you are concerned about someone certainly find the time to talk to them. Remember you don’t need to be an expert and have all the answers. Let them talk rather than try telling them what to do. By just asking gentle questions and listening to them they can find their own answers. Above all, sometimes people just need to be heard.

    Ask open questions like, ‘Tell me about…how long have you felt…what happened?’ and so on. Instead of trying to solve problems listen to and respect how they feel. Show you understand by repeating back what they’re saying and asking follow up questions. This shows you care.

    Emotions such as shame, fear, despair, anger, sadness, jealousy and so on can be very intense. When we feel like that we can feel overwhelmed. Talking about them can bring a relief and can even more, help bring up solutions and alternatives.

    It can be ok to help people explore options but let them make decisions. Useful questions to explore options could include, ‘Have you talked to anyone else about this? Would you like some help? Have you considered contacting…..?’ Supportive questions like, ‘Would you like me to come with you?’, can also help.

    Suggesting organisations to contact like the Samaritans and Lifeline can be helpful as well.

    Lastly remember everyone is different and there is no one size fits all when talking to and supporting someone. If you think you’ve said the wrong thing, have been insensitive or it didn’t come out the way you meant it, acknowledge it and apologize. It is showing them you understand.

    Socialize and spend time with them. Ask how they are and be there for them in practical ways as well. Make sure you have good support for yourself as well.

    There are many good organisations out there working to prevent suicide and support people everyday. Do an online search for organisations nationally or in your local area.


    Samaritans (Belfast)

    PIPS (Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm)




    This article was written by sentientcounselling