Starting a conversation could save a life!
Asking someone if they are suicidal can feel intrusive. We may avoid asking because of being unsure how to respond if the answer is yes or make the situation worse. We sometimes avoid these difficult conversations. There can be a sense of fear about getting things wrong, giving someone the idea.
Ask - the lean in approach, If you've noticed changes in behaviour reflect these observations. Listen to your instincts, that gut feeling is often right, if you sense a red flag asking and getting it wrong is the worst that can happen
Be in the know, do your research clue yourself up on resources that are available, find out what is out there, use your knowledge of the person you are worried about to choose those that might work best. Papyrus, Childline and drop in emotional support hubs where face to face can be offered.
Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable, it's never easy talking about topics that raise our anxieties, leave us feeling bodily senses that we would rather not, sweating palms racing heart beat to name just a couple. Notice and naming our own feelings, soothing ourselves, meeting our own needs before we begin can be helpful. Your emotional and physical presence can influence the conversation. Remember you can do it
Create a safe space finding a place that has a calming presence to it, where you have some privacy and are not going to be interrupted. Take note of their body language, the unspoken words. Try and be open and relax in your own body language, think about open arms and a subtle level of eye contact, sitting squarely can also feel less intimidating.
Open questions help us to access more than a yes or no response and can be used to explore what is happening for the person. I'm wondering... Can you tell me more about .. to help me understand.. I'm sensing that... I'm wondering if I've got that right...
Be there, we don't always have to be doing anything physically, find solutions, fix things and use minimal prompts to keep the conversation going . Be open to the idea that bringing life to an end may feel like an option.
if in crisis please get help. links to various organisations and helplines can be found here https://www.dstherapy.co.uk/crisis.html
Starting a conversation can save a life!
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