In a world that is constantly pushing us back and forth, sometimes it can get overwhelming trying to keep it all together. The ages of people completing suicide are getting younger and younger as the years progress. According to TIME, suicide rates have risen by 57% from 2007 to 2018 amongst teenagers and young adults. More specifically, there has been an increase in African-American and Black girls who have attempted, but not completed, suicide.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month can be a time of remembrance of those who may have taken their own lives while raising awareness for what steps can be taken to ensure this issue does not persist. Within the African-American community, mental health is slowly coming out of being stigmatized. However, there is still progress that needs to happen for people to truly feel comfortable speaking about their mental health and wellness journeys.
You may not have all the answers for someone, but you can always try your best to be a better friend, colleague, or mentor to someone you know. Here are some ways to show support to someone who may be battling suicidal thoughts or going through a rough time mentally.
Be A Listening Ear
For many who may deal with suicidal thoughts or general ideas of negativity, sometimes they don’t feel as though they are being heard by anyone. Take time to genuinely listen to someone without interruptions and eye contact to let them know that you are engaged in the conversation and care about their well-being. Sometimes as people we want to help by giving what we feel may aid someone who is having a hard time, but that may not always be what someone needs.
Encourage Them To Do Things That They Enjoy
One of the signs of someone who may be depressed or suicidal is first detaching from usual activities that bring them joy from after-school extracurriculars to hanging out with friends and family. It is best to first ask why someone has decided to steer away from their regular routine. From there, do your best to encourage them to do things they usually enjoy without being aggressive. You could even try performing these tasks with them so they feel more comfortable.
Understand What They May Need At The Time
With the stigmatization of suicide still prevalent, there can be assumptions about someone who is suicidal or may have attempted suicide. It is important to ask what someone needs. Rather it is going out for food or just the essence of your company, making yourself available makes a difference in providing support. Be mindful of how you are also feeling to prevent burnout or spreading yourself too thin while being there for others.
Provide Professional Resources
When trying to support someone through challenges they may be facing, sometimes it can be overwhelming. To remedy this, try to give someone alternative options for receiving support such as therapy or support groups. This will allow for them to have more than one option at their disposal and somewhere else to turn in case of an emergency.
Though September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it is important to remember that awareness goes beyond just this month. If you or someone you know needs additional support, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988.