5 Ways to Support A Loved One During Suicide Prevention Month
According to the American Association of Suicidology, there were 47,173 reported suicides in 2017—roughly 14 out of every 100,000 people. Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals ages 15 to 34 years old. Each September, Acenda recognizes National Suicide Awareness & Prevention Month by working with community partners and advocates to amplify the conversation about suicide prevention and to promote healing and support resources.
You do not need to be a professional to help raise awareness and save a life. Adopted from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, here are 5 actions to promote healing and to give hope for your loved ones:
- Ask: Asking someone if they are feeling suicidal will not make them suicidal, give them the idea, or promote suicide. In fact, by asking someone if they are suicidal you can start a meaningful and caring conversation about suicide. This will likely reduce, rather than increase, suicidal ideation.
- Keep them safe: Besides having a genuinely concerned conversation with your loved one, keeping them safe is the next and most valuable step. To keep them safe means removing and limiting access to any lethal means. This action will reduce the chances and likelihood of a suicidal person planning or attempting suicide.
- Listen: It is important as a friend or a family member to allow your loved one to feel heard without judgement. This helps the individual feel less depressed, overwhelmed, or suicidal.
- Connect them to Resources: When interacting with someone that expresses suicidal ideation, research has shown that getting them connected to resources and a support network will reduce feelings of hopelessness.
- Follow up: Taking the time to follow up with someone that has been suicidal or hospitalized for suicidal ideation is an important part of suicide prevention. By checking in with them regularly in the days and weeks following a suicide attempt, you could have a huge impact in keeping them alive.
Connecting to Community Resources
As a community resource, our highly trained clinicians are here to help anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. Our Counseling & Wellness Center services could be especially helpful for your loved one as they go through this difficult time. If you feel that you, a spouse, a family member, or a child may need to talk to someone, call our toll-free number 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632) to request an appointment.