Sitting With Others in Their Darkest Moments

By Tylor Couthard - 12/15/2023

 

Every year, countless individuals across the world turn to suicide, leaving friends, families, and communities in profound grief and confusion. The reasons behind these decisions are multifaceted and deeply personal. They can be rooted in mental health issues, past traumas, overwhelming stressors, or feelings of hopelessness and isolation. Suicide is a subject that requires understanding, compassion, and open dialogue to de-stigmatize and support those who might be struggling. As a suicide crisis counselor, I have sat with hundreds of people through their darkest moments, and this is what I have learned.

  • No one is immune from feelings of hopelessness. Depression and thoughts of suicide affect all ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses, religions, and ethnicities.
  • The overwhelming majority of those with thoughts of suicide feel isolated, or like a burden to those around them. The feeling of being isolated or disconnected can exacerbate feelings of despair.
  • Suicide doesn’t just affect the individual. It has a ripple effect, impacting families, friends, colleagues, and even acquaintances. In fact, many people think about suicide because someone close to them died by suicide.
  • Human connection is crucial. Humans are inherently social beings and therefore, connecting with others can benefit our mental health in many ways including by reducing the likelihood of following through with suicide.

Suicide is a topic that many shy away from discussing due to its heavy emotional weight and complexity. However, discussing it is exactly the way to combat it. Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • Talking about wanting to die or expressing feelings of hopelessness, isolation, being trapped, or being a burden.
  • Isolating oneself from friends, family, and social activities.
  • Acting recklessly, visiting, or calling people to say goodbye, or giving away possessions.
  • Expressing unbearable pain, whether emotional or physical.
  • Discussing a topic like suicide can be very intimidating. Here are some ways to help prevent suicide:
  • Talk about it! Contrary to popular belief, talking about suicide will not put suicidal thoughts into someone‚Äôs head. In fact, it often helps remove them.
  • Regular check-ins with loved ones, especially those you suspect might be struggling, can make a world of difference.
  • If someone opens up about their struggles, listen without judgment or interruption. Just being there will help. Refrain from saying things like “Think about your family” or “It’s not that bad.”
  • Stay calm. If someone is in immediate danger, don’t leave them alone. Call emergency services or take them to a hospital.

Remember, suicide is rarely about truly wanting to die. It is about wanting to escape an unbearable pain and not seeing any other way out. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help immediately. You are not alone, and help is available.

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988

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