Talk Openly
While it may seem like talking about suicide is a dangerous thing to do, the opposite is quite true. Discussing suicide and feelings of despair or depression with a loved one can be especially important as it lets them know that they are not alone, and also that you are comfortable discussing the subject with them. This opens up the opportunity for them to come to you, or somebody else, in future, and for many can make a great deal of difference as it brings hope to an otherwise bleak situation. If you personally have experienced similar feelings, do not be afraid to mention this, as it can help to know that others around you have felt the same, and that the feeling can be overcome with time and the right help.
Encourage them to seek help
While it is important to let your loved ones know that you are there for them, it is always advised for individuals to seek professional mental health advice if they are having suicidal thoughts, as this can help them to better understand the route of their feelings, and usually offers a longer-term solution. It is important to remember that you are not qualified to assess or treat a loved ones condition, no matter how well you know them, so encouraging or helping them to seek advice may be the best thing that you can do. Remind them that there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about seeking mental health advice, and that if they should need you, you will be there.
Be Patient and Understand your Role
Don’t expect miracles. Feelings do not just go away overnight, and it is important to remember that everyone’s journey looks different – so don’t expect somebody to look or act differently right away after seeking help. Also, it is important to remember that this is their journey, not yours, and so you are not entitled to know everything, even if you are close to the individual. Everything you do for them should be in their best interests, not your own, so do not try and force progress or information out of them.
Be a Friend
One of the greatest things you can do for somebody struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings is to be their friend; whether this means going out for coffee, or offering to babysit every once in a while. Remember that we all feel down sometimes, but no matter what we are going through it is nice to know that our friends will never see or treat us differently because of it. See the person for who they usually are, and continue to do things together like you normally would. For someone suffering from suicidal thoughts, feeling normal, even if for a few hours, can mean the world.
Understand that you can’t help
As much as you may want to help someone feel better, you should try to understand that how somebody else feels is not always in your control. While you may be able to recommend therapy, or even accompany them to appointments or meetings, you are not responsible for anyone else’s mental health, and should never blame yourself for how you, or anyone else is feeling. Leave the analysing to a mental health professional, and just focus on being there.
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Source: Dr julian

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