When emotional and/or physical pain becomes so overwhelming for some people, they often see suicide as the only way out. The struggle often comes from emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, stress, isolation, hopelessness, grief, pain, and loss.
“The majority of the time there are warning signs,” says Dani Marchman, LCSW, Behavioral Health Clinical Director at LifeLong Medical Care. “Most people who are suicidal will tell someone that they are thinking about suicide.”
Dani emphasized the importance of having direct and honest conversations about suicide and mental health. If you’re thinking about suicide, it’s important to understand that “there’s another solution to your problem that isn’t death. Let someone help you find that other solution.”
If you know someone who’s struggling and has mentioned suicide, talk to them.
“Don’t beat around the bush,” says Dani.
There is a misconception that talking about suicide or asking someone about suicide will make them think about committing suicide. According to suicidepreventiononline.org, “findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.”
Start the conversation, let that person know you care, and listen without judgment.
Help connect them to resources like the Crisis Support Services of Alameda County at 1-800-309-2131, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Both are toll-free numbers available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Reach out to your health care provider if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Talking about suicide may feel awkward and uncomfortable, but remember that asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” shows that you care enough to have a difficult, but possibly life-saving, conversation.
* More staff allows LifeLong to help more community members with life-saving mental health services.