Here are the steps to take if you suspect someone is considering suicide
No one wants to believe that someone they love would feel so alone and trapped in their circumstances that they would consider suicide, yet each year, nearly 43,000 people in the United States take their lives.
That figure represents only those who carry out suicide; it doesn’t reflect the many more people who have attempted suicide (25 times the number of suicides) or considered suicide.
While it’s a devastating circumstance for anyone to face, the good news is that you don’t have to be a helpless bystander. Here is a 5-point action plan outlining the immediate steps you should take if someone is considering suicide.
1) Trust Your Instincts
If your gut is telling you that something is off, trust it. You may not always be right, but you’ll never regret taking action if it means that you could have saved someone’s life, even if you turn out to be wrong. It’s a good idea to enlist help at this stage, talking with a trusted friend or relative who can support you and serve as backup as you go through the following steps.
2) Communicate with Your Loved One
Confronting someone you care about with your suspicions that they may be contemplating suicide is often awkward, requiring every ounce of confidence and courage that you can muster. Reactions to questions about whether a person is having suicidal thoughts vary widely, so be prepared for anything ranging from an emotional breakdown to anger or even rage.
Above all, listen to what they have to say. Feeling heard will make them more comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with you.
3) Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The hotline is staffed by skilled, trained crisis workers 24/7 who can offer emotional support to anyone considering suicide or to those who are concerned about a friend or loved one. Hotline staffers can offer guidance on next steps and help you secure the support you need to ensure your loved one’s safety.
4) Encourage Them to Seek Treatment for Underlying Disorders
Many people who consider or attempt suicide are struggling with an underlying mental health or substance abuse disorder. When these underlying conditions are undiagnosed or not being treated adequately, coping with the symptoms or side effects can become too much to bear, leading someone to consider ending their life. Getting adequate treatment for these underlying conditions can resolve suicidal ideations in many cases when an addiction or mental health condition is present.
5) Follow Up and Follow Through
Let your loved one know that you care and are there as a support system. Together, work out a plan for seeking treatment, eliminating any objects that could be used for self-harm from the environment, and ensuring that they are either safe to be alone in the immediate future or have someone who will be with them until professional treatment is underway.
If they must be left alone for any amount of time before treatment begins, enlist friends and loved ones to create an emergency support team. Make a list of names and phone numbers, and have your loved one sign a contract agreeing to reach out to a member of the support team should they begin to have suicidal ideations. Make regular check-ins a priority.
If you suspect that someone you love is considering suicide or are aware that they are battling a substance abuse or mental health disorder that’s not being adequately addressed (or addressed at all) by treatment, don’t hesitate to take action out of fear that they will be upset with you. Your actions might mean the difference between despair and hope, or life and death.
About TMS Solutions
TMS Therapy is an FDA Approved medical device for treating depression, and is outside of the normal pharmacological/medicinal box in which doctors have been treating this illness. This is great news for patients suffering from depression, and for doctors to have another tool in their arsenal for treating the disease that affects upwards of 16 million Americans.
- TMS Therapy is covered by several insurance carriers and Medicare.
- TMS Therapy is a non-systemic treatment, meaning it does not circulate in the bloodstream.
- It is also non-invasive, in that it does not involve surgery. It is also drug free.
- The process uses a highly-focused MRI-strength magnetic field pulse to a specific part of the brain, which leads to activation of cortical and deep brain structures known to be involved in mood regulation.
- The treatment is available only by prescription and administered daily for 6 weeks.
Christopher Blackburn, in addition to his business development duties, is also a patient advocate, working with patients and their insurers. Patients considering TMS treatment can go to www.tmssolutions.com for more information, or talk with their doctor or Christopher Blackburn at 970-697-1020 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about about TMS Therapy.
Image via Pixabay by geralt