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What Should I do if Someone I Know is Suicidal? Woodland Psychological Services

What Should I do if Someone I Know is Suicidal? Woodland Psychological Services

| by Editor | Posted in Telford Wellbeing

July 24th was 24/7 Samaritan’s National Awareness Day, and our community partner, Katie Woodland from Woodland Psychological Services in Telford, offers advice on what to do if someone you know is suicidal. 

It’s important to start off by addressing that sometimes, no matter what you do the person you love will feel so helpless, overwhelmed or trapped that they believe ending their own life is their only option.

Most often, there are no warning signs.

So many families are caught completely unawares.

I want you to know that it’s not your fault and you very probably couldn’t have stopped it from happening.

When someone gets to the point that they decide they no longer want to be here, only they can decide to stay.

Pleading, pushing or threatening to harm yourself may delay it for a day or two but would in all likelihood still result in the same fateful event.

I say this because, statistically 10 people are affected every time someone takes their own life and in England and Wales roughly 13 people a day take their own life (ONS, 2016; Woodland, K. 2017).

There is a ripple effect.

& you may be reading this with the event still very raw.

It’s human nature to replay events and analyse all the things we wish we had done differently.

While this is part of the natural grieving process there will come a point where you internalise the very first line of this blog post.

You may not feel that way right now, but know it will come and when it does you will be ready to move forward.

OK, back to what you should do if you know someone is suicidal.

Firstly, it’s really important that you don’t become overprotective or overbearing. If someone has been brave enough to let you know how they’re feeling, pushing them into something (e.g. getting help) could mean that they withdraw.

Secondly, know that you are equipped to help them. We all have innate abilities to support others and you will be able to both talk with and listen to them. If you are uncomfortable with the responsibility or worried that you may say something wrong spend your first conversation just listening. Put the kettle on, grab a biscuit and pay attention to everything they’re saying. Just take it all in. You don’t need to fix their problems, offer advice or help them do anything – you just need to listen.

Thirdly, let them know that you’re thankful they trust you enough to reach out. Also, let them know you are going to reach out to someone for advice on how best to support them. You can do this confidentially if they ask, just let them know it’s for your peace of mind.

Finally, pass them the Samaritans number. The Samaritans are a dedicated, confidential, free service which listens to people who are struggling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Their number is 116 123.

Make sure they put it on their phones, you never know when they may need it.

In fact, anyone reading this should put the Samaritans number on their phone – you never know when you might need it either for yourself or for someone you love.

The Samaritans aren’t just there when you’re feeling suicidal.

You can contact them when you’re struggling to cope and just need someone to talk to.

You may be wondering why I’m talking about suicide…

Well, today is Samaritan’s Day it’s the 24th July (24/7) – which is pretty clever if you ask me.

Also, I often meet people who start out feeling as though there is no point to life.

Who feel as though they’re simply biding their time.

On a more personal note, I’ve been there.

A long time ago now, I was a victim of workplace bullying and after months and months of relentless victimisation , very nearly ended it.

I was on my way to work and as I got further and further down the M6 the feelings of panic, nausea and overwhelming fear became more overpowering.

I was saved by a traffic jam.

Those 45 minutes I spent stationary were enough for me to realise it wasn’t what I wanted.

They were enough for me to realise I had a way out.

They were enough for me to realise I was worthy of being here.

Don’t get me wrong, the hold these two people had over me was so strong the thought of picking up the phone to say I wasn’t coming into work had me visibly shaking and utterly terrified.

So much so I had to get my mum to do it for me.

But the relief once I knew I never had to step foot back in that building, never had to speak to them and never had to hear their voices again – I can only describe it as though I could finally breathe.

I am not ashamed of where I was back then.

I know many ‘strong’ people who have been in similar situations and decided to fight.

Life happens, often without our control and we can either look it in the eyes, show no fear and achieve everything we dream of or withdraw, hide and continue down the path to increasing darkness.

I chose to fight, the Samaritans can help you fight.

116 123

Please share this post with your friends, you never know who may need it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I will be back next week  with something a little more fun and to help you lift the mood.

Best wishes, Katie.

P.S. if you’re struggling and are seeking 1-2-1 therapeutic support why not check out our website. While, we can’t offer 24/7 phone support we can help you via skype if you’re unable to get to our office.

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