Supporting Loved Ones
Being National Suicide Prevention Month, September has been an important time for mental health awareness. RU OK? Day fell on the 12th of September, a day reminding us to check-in on loved ones who may be struggling and in need of some extra support.
But what do you do when someone you care about lets you know that maybe they aren’t doing OK?
It can be really confronting when someone you care about is struggling to stay positive, however it’s important to remember that most people who suffer from depressed thoughts or episodes usually get through the crises. You can help make a big difference in making sure people stay safe and supported until they can begin to re-establish a positive mindset.
If you think someone you know or care about is in immediate danger or considering harm, it is important to ACT. Don’t assume they will seek out the help they need on their own or hope someone else will step up- reaching out now and offering to help in any way you can could save a life.
Sometimes people’s behaviour gives us a sign that they need help. Some behaviours to keep an eye out for include: moodiness or acting withdrawn, talking about feeling hopeless or worthless and difficulty with sleep, focus and concentration.
So, what happens now?
Spend time with the person and make sure they know that you care and are happy to listen to what’s on their mind. Decide together your next point of action- make sure you make no promises to keep secrets- you might need some professional help depending on the severity of the conversation. Make keeping your loved ones safe and away from harm your top priority, even if it means giving a healthy dose of tough love. Sometimes all it takes is for someone who cares to reach out to help another who is struggling and point them in the right direction.
“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” ― Shannon L. Alder
For immediate crisis intervention (when life may be in danger) call the ambulance or police on 000.
For further information about places to go for help when someone is at risk, visit the Lifeline website: www.lifeline.org.au
National Telephone Support:
• Lifeline - 13 11 14
• Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
• The Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467