Suicide is a complex problem that requires multiple efforts to reduce risk. These efforts may take place at the individual, relationship, community, or society level.
Preventing suicide can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips that you can use to help prevent suicide in your life or the lives of those you care about.
1. Educate yourself
Educating yourself about suicide can help you know what to do when you or someone you know is thinking about suicide. If you talk to them about their thoughts, it can help them feel more connected and relieve them of feelings of hopelessness and sadness.
You can also help them learn about ways to prevent suicide and get help. Getting professional treatment for mental health problems is the best way to stop suicide in most cases.
Suicide is a very hard topic to talk about and it is often taboo, but it’s important to discuss it openly. That way, people can get the help they need and no one else will have to go through it alone.
If you think you are at risk of dying by suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.
2. Talk to someone
One of the best things you can do is talk to someone about their thoughts and feelings. This is not a way to put the idea into their head or make them more likely to attempt suicide, but it can be a way for you to show them you care and support them through this difficult time.
You can start by asking them if they are thinking about suicide, and then talking with them in a non-judgmental way about their feelings. Listening to them non-judgmentally can help you get to the root of their pain and open up a dialogue about the best ways to deal with it.
Another important thing you can do is help them connect with ongoing supports, like a friend, family member or spiritual advisor. This can give them a safety net in case they need to seek help when their thoughts of suicide become more serious or severe. Also, follow-up with them to check in regularly about their progress.
3. Stay safe
Preventing suicide is important to everyone, but it’s especially crucial for people who are struggling with mental health issues. No one should have to feel ashamed or alone when they are experiencing feelings of depression, despair or hopelessness.
Often, the first step to preventing suicide is by talking about it with someone. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors may seem like normal signs of stress, but they are serious and should not be ignored.
When you’re talking to someone who may be thinking about suicide, ask them a few questions to find out whether they have already tried to hurt themselves or have a plan for how they would kill themselves. Also, find out what type of access they have to a lethal means (like guns) and what medications they take.
Teens are at an increased risk of suicide for many reasons, including social pressures, family problems, drug use and depression. The best way to prevent suicide is to talk to your child and help them get the treatment they need.
4. Get help
If someone you know is thinking about suicide, it is important to get help right away. Talking to a mental health professional can reduce the risk that they will take their own life and increase their ability to cope with stressful situations.
Suicide is a tragic reaction to stress, but it is not a normal part of the human experience. Fortunately, people who have thoughts of suicide can get the treatment they need to stop feeling hopeless and feel better about themselves.
This can include talking with a trained mental health professional, getting medications that help control symptoms of depression or anxiety and learning effective coping skills. It may also involve reducing a person’s access to items that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as guns.
Getting help for suicide is not easy, but it can save a life. It is also important to build a support network of loved ones, including healthcare professionals, to keep a person connected and safe until they can receive treatment.