It Seems That My Loved One Is Thinking About Suicide. What To Do?

My Loved One Is Thinking About Suicide

This text contains descriptions of suicidal states and actions. Please read with caution or set the article aside if this is a sensitive topic for you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of suicides per 100,000 increased from 13.5 in 2020 to 14.0 in 2021. 

It is not customary to talk about suicidal thoughts and unwillingness to live. Even if it is clear that a person feels bad and no longer wants to fight, people around him often do not know how to help. Together with a psychologist, we figure out what to do if your loved one is thinking about suicide or it seems to you that he has such intentions.

What Are Suicides

Psychologists divide suicide into three types: 

  • Demonstrative – it’s more a cry for help when a person does not plan to die but wants to draw the attention of loved ones to his problem.
  • True – a person thinks over his last day and the way of leaving life for a long time. Most likely, he knows the exact date, time, and place. He has backup plans in case something goes wrong. 
  • Affective – a person cannot cope with himself at a sharp peak of emotions. Often such a farewell to life comes unexpectedly for him.

My Loved One Is Thinking About Suicide

What Are The Risk Factors

In severe crisis situations, the risk of suicide increases. It is better to be close to your loved one and support him in such cases:

  • Death of a loved one.
  • Job loss.
  • Strong failure in the professional field.
  • Retirement.
  • Poor physical condition, life with constant physical pain.
  • Shock trauma.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • The threat of imprisonment.

Even those who have an unhappy childhood are prone to suicide. A person at this time learns to trust the world and does this in close contact with a parent or significant adult. If adults are cold and distant, they personally do not learn to trust others. In any life crisis, he is at risk: he has to deal not only with a problem but also with the feeling that the world is hostile to him.

The risk of suicide increases if he has already tried suicide. And in a difficult situation, he can make a new attempt.

How To Understand That A Loved One Is Suicidal

The state can be seen in the way a person behaves, what he says, and how he expresses emotions. Individually, each of these signs may not mean anything dangerous. But if any of the indicators have appeared recently and is combined with other risk factors, this is an alarming signal.

Change In Behavior

It is worth starting to worry if a person:

  • Chooses topics for conversation or posts on social networks that are related to death or suicide.
  • Changes habits. For example, he abruptly stops dyeing his hair or caring for flowers, although this was important to him before.
  • Moves away from loved ones reduces contact to nothing. This is because the person feels unworthy of help. Or he understands that others are worried – he does not want to be dissuaded and interfere with plans.
  • Writes a will, structures and organizes affairs. For example, he gives someone close spare keys to the apartment or shares passwords from e-mail and social networks.
  • Suddenly begins to take risky actions or is fond of a dangerous hobby, although he previously preferred a completely different one. Alternatively, the person was afraid of electric scooters but now rides a mountain bike on winter slopes. 
  • Behaves destructively – hurts or beats himself, is addicted to alcohol, uses drugs, refuses medical care. 
  • Significantly changes eating habits. Bulimia and anorexia can be a slow and unconscious form of suicide. 
  • Giving away money or things that meant a lot to him. This happens because a person thinks that they will no longer be useful to him. He can also leave loved ones something in memory of himself.

The one who planned suicide, most likely, has already determined exactly when, where, and how he will do it. Nothing will stop him. But you can find out from him how much time you still have, and try to at least delay this moment.

If you are worried about a loved one, try to show that you have noticed that he is behaving atypically: “I see that something is happening to you. I notice that you often joke about death and stop doing what you love. How do you? Do you want to talk? It’s not a fact that a person will share his intentions, but he will know: you are worried and ready to listen to him.

If in doubt about what words to choose for a loved one, consult a specialist – a psychologist or psychotherapist.

Emotional State

Suicide is the ultimate way to express anger at yourself and everything around you. Usually, suicidal thoughts develop against the background of depression. The person is no longer happy with the things that he used to like. He dwells on the fact that his life has no meaning. A person not only criticizes himself but feels insignificant. For example, he can comment on any problem in the spirit of “Well, yes, it was clear that I could not cope.” 

A person feels that no one needs him, so he begins to move away from other people. It is difficult for him to find the strength to get out of bed, and at the same time, he feels increased anxiety: he is overcome by panic attacks and strong fears. Suicide may be an attempt to get rid of this difficult condition.

A person with suicidal tendencies talks about suicide as something normal and ordinary. For example, he may repeat that everyone decides for themselves whether to live or not.

What To Do If Your Loved One Says That He Does Not Want To Live

Be Close Be

interested in feelings, and try to accept his difficult condition. This concern can be expressed through the words: “How are you feeling today? How can I support you?”

You can also help out. For depressed people, ordinary things like taking a shower turn into a huge exhausting quest. Invite a loved one to take care of him: cook dinner, wash things, and go to the post office.

Talk To A Person About The Meaning Of Life And Remind Them Of Their Strengths

It is important not to impose your ideas about why to live. Better take an interest in his opinion: “You say that everything is meaningless. What did you see the point in? Have there been similar difficult situations in your life? What helped you cope at the time? If you want, I will tell you how I got out of this state.

Try Not To Judge The Person’s Feelings.

This can be difficult because the anxiety for a loved one is usually very strong, but this way, you can support him. Don’t refute hard thoughts or question the person’s pain. For him, life in depression is a total horror that has become a reality. 

Save Contacts Of Specialists

If you suspect that a loved one is going to commit suicide, find the contacts of a crisis psychologist. It is better if you share your anxiety for a dear person with a specialist.

Ask him to connect if you yourself need help. For example, you can make a request like this: “I don’t know how and when this will be. I’m scared. I’m at a loss for what to do. I want you to help me make a plan of action. 

Agree with the psychologist that in which case you can immediately call him: “Can I call you if something happens to me or my loved ones?”

Warn Loved Ones Of A Person Who Is On The Verge Of Suicide 

Try to reach out to those who will not devalue the person’s condition and will be able to help him. For example, you can pick up such words: “Have you noticed that ONE’s behavior has changed? I’m worried that he’s stopped seeing his friends and is smoking again. Maybe you need our help? Let’s talk together with the Man about what he thinks and feels.

It is important that you share your concerns with others. Being close to a person on the verge of suicide is difficult. You also need support and support.

My Loved One Is Thinking About Suicide

What You Should Definitely Not Do

Devalue Feelings

Do not say: “Nonsense, spit on it, it will pass.” What he feels is not nonsense at all. And if he could “spit” so easily, he would have already done it.

Comparing With Others 

A person with suicidal thoughts is unlikely to be helped by the words: “Just think, difficulties. Look at Marina, what difficulties she had, she coped with everything, and you whine. Get it together.”

Shame, Call For Responsibility

For example, show it like this: “I’m worried about you! Think how your parents will feel.” A person already feels a heavy load that presses on him like a granite slab. Imposing a new responsibility on him is a bad idea.

Advising To Get Busy

In situations like this, people like to be advised to dive into work or start a new project. If a person in a serious condition loads himself with chores, he can reach burnout. This will not fill his life with meaning but rather worsen the condition.

Pressing, Demanding Explanations

Talking head-on, “I watch your posts on social networks. Are you contemplating suicide?” – bad idea. This will likely cause suspension and a desire to shut down. Perhaps the person will simply stop sharing their experiences.

How To Support Yourself If A Loved One Talks About Suicide

If a loved one has a serious condition, you need to be especially attentive to yourself so as not to be depressed too.

Think About What Is The Meaning Of Your Life For You. Write Down Everything That Seems Important

Think about why you like living? What pleases you? What gives strength? Try to do things that fill you more often. Let it be at least an hour a week.

Keep Track Of Your Physical Condition 

Notice your relationship with food, sleep, and libido. Assess how your current physical habits differ from those that you consider normal for yourself. For example, you usually go to bed at 1 am and sleep 8-9 hours. And now they have begun to sleep much more or, on the contrary, you get up without an alarm clock at seven in the morning.

If this happens, most likely, the body signals that it is uncomfortable. Talk to a psychologist about how your daily schedule has changed. He will help you deal with this condition and warn you if he sees signs of depression in you.

Develop The Ability To Rejoice

To do this, you can put a few reminders on your phone if they do not annoy you. Let it be 3-7 reminders per day with the question, “What pleasant things are happening around me now?” List everything that comes to your mind: “I drink warm tea. I sit on the couch. I’m comfortable. I love the color of this sofa.”

Even if the reminder worked when you were washing the dishes, you could also find something pleasant: warm water, your favorite cup that has become clean. 

If you can’t find something pleasant right now, you can arrange it. Pet the cat, turn on your favorite song and look out the window. This is a strong-willed focus on the pleasant, and he trains.

My Loved One Is Thinking About Suicide

Where To Go For Help If You Think That A Loved One Is Thinking About Suicide

If Everything Is Happening Right Now

  • 988crisis line. There, an on-duty operational psychologist takes calls around the clock and will listen if a person calls on the verge of suicide. He will give a signal to the necessary services, and he will keep the person on the wire for as long as possible. 

Another specialist will tell you what to do if a relative or friend calls who has been informed of an impending suicide.

  • 741741 Crisis Text Line serves anyone in any type of crisis by providing access to free 24/7 support through tools people already use and trust.

If The Crisis Lasts For Some Time And Does Not Yet Turn Into An Acute State

Crisis centers in your city and psychotherapeutic groups of the “Peer to peer” format will help. This is a format of meetings, live or online, when no professional help but another person has encountered a similar problem.

Transform Your Well-Being: Online-Therapy Review and Insights

If you or your loved one is uncomfortable discussing your fears with strangers, contact a psychologist.

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