How To Start a Conversation About Suicide

It’s not easy to talk about suicide. 

It can be one of the most challenging conversations you ever have. But it’s important to remember that talking about suicide does not cause someone to attempt or fall victim to suicide. 

It can be quite the opposite.

Starting a conversation about suicide is one of the most important things you can do if you are worried about yourself or someone you care about. This shows that you are open to talking about tough topics and willing to listen without judgment.

This article will explore suicide in-depth and give you the tools to confront this phenomenon with your friends, family, loved ones, or even yourself.

What Leads to Suicide?

Mental illness is the number one cause of suicide. 90% of individuals who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. 

The most common mental illnesses associated with suicide are depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders.

Please remember that mental illness is not a choice. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain that can lead to changes in mood, thinking, and behavior. Mental illness is often treated with medication and various forms of therapy.

Warning Signs of Suicide

There are many warning signs that someone may be considering suicide. Be aware of these signs so you can start a conversation before it’s too late.

Some general warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or hurting oneself
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities
  • Abnormal mood swings
  • Giving away prized possessions 
  • Preparing for death by writing a will or making funeral arrangements

If you are worried about someone, it’s essential to trust your gut and talk to them. It’s better to have a conversation that turns out to be nothing than not saying anything and regretting it later. 

How To Start the Suicide Conversation

Now that you know some of the warning signs, it’s time to learn how to start the conversation. 

It’s important to remember that there is no one right way to do this. Guage the situation, read the emotional and psychological state of the person as best as you can and use your instincts.

You may want to start by saying something like:

  • “I’ve been worried about you lately…”
  • “I noticed that you’ve been keeping to yourself more than usual, and I wanted to check-in.”
  • “I’m here for you if you want to talk.”

It’s also important to avoid phrases that could make the person feel defensive, such as:

  • “You’re fine. Stop being so dramatic.”
  • “Why are you feeling this way?”
  • “It’s all in your head! You need to snap back into reality!”

If the person does not want to talk about it, that’s OK. You can always check-in at a later date or reach out to someone else who may be able to help, such as a doctor, therapist, or hotline.

If the person is receptive to talking, there are some questions you can ask to gauge the situation and whether they have a plan. These questions include:

  • “When did you start feeling this way?”
  • “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
  • “Have you been thinking about this a lot?”
  • “Do you have a plan?”
  • “What can I do to help you?” 

Also, avoid giving false reassurances, such as “Everything will be OK” or “You’re not alone.” 

These phrases can make the person feel like you don’t understand what they are going through. Instead, try to focus on active listening and showing that you care.

What To Do if the Person Has a Plan for Suicide

If the person has a plan, take action as soon as possible. This may mean calling a suicide hotline, going to the emergency room, or contacting a mental health professional.

It’s also important to remove any lethal means of suicide from their environments, such as firearms, drugs, or sharp objects. 

Remember, suicide is not a selfish act. It’s a desperate plea for help. 

If someone you know is considering suicide, don’t hesitate to reach out and start a conversation. It could save their life.

When To Seek Medical or Professional Help

As stated above, if you are worried about someone, it’s imperative to reach out for help. You can always call a suicide hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or contact a mental health professional

You should also seek medical intervention if the person has a plan or is actively suicidal. This may mean going to the emergency room or calling 911.

Keep in mind that you cannot force someone to get help. If they are not ready, there is not much you can do. Just make sure to check in with them often and let them know that you are there for them when they are ready.

Also, if someone has successfully ended their life after you attempted to help them or get them some help, you can’t blame yourself. You did what you could, and it’s not your fault.

Vitality Psychiatric Services: Get the Help You Need

If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, remember that you’re not alone. 

Vitality Psychiatric Services can provide you with professional care and support to recover. 

Our team of skilled mental health professionals can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and build a support system. We will also work with you to create a treatment plan to ease what you’re going through. 

We offer various treatment options for those with a mental illnesses — conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, and suicidal thoughts. These treatment options include:

  • Medication management — treating a variety of conditions through individualized psychotropic medication management
  • Psychotherapy — or talk therapy
  • Telepsychiatry — virtual psychotherapy through a HIPAA-secured site
  • Pharmacogenomics — the study of how genes affect a person’s response to medications
  • Ketamine therapy — groundbreaking treatment proven to be effective for a variety of conditions

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please contact us. We are here to support you on your journey toward total mental wellness.

Click the link below to learn more about how Vitality Psychiatric Services can help.

[Learn More About Vitality Psychiatric Services]

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