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Though each person may show distress in different ways, you can pay attention to certain signs (emotional, cognitive and behavioural) those who are suffering may convey. People may also give direct or indirect messages. Here are some examples of what those signs can look like:
Life can be hard for all of us at times—breakups, failures, relapses, and so on. When these things happen, some people could become vulnerable to suicide, especially when the situation affects their reasons to live. Here are examples of critical moments:
The false beliefs that can sometimes surround suicide are often barriers to speaking openly about the subject. It therefore bears repeating that:
You don’t need professional training to listen or show openness and caring. If you’re worried about someone in your life, dare to ask them how they’re doing. Suicide prevention is a worldwide team effort—one where every conversation counts.
While we can often recognize distress in the people around us, starting a conversation with them remains a challenge. For example, we might feel uneasy or scared, or be concerned about making things worse.
Dare to overcome those feelings. You don’t have to follow a specific recipe to help someone. Be yourself! Sharing your concerns and taking an interest in the person in front of you are little things that can make all the difference.
In a nutshell, share your concerns and dare to ask the person if they are thinking about suicide.
Helping someone who’s experiencing distress can bring up difficult emotions for you too. The resources that exist for people thinking about suicide are there for you too. Know that you can reach out any time for support, tools, and a safe space to share what you’re going through. Respecting your own limits as a loved one means not going through what you are experiencing alone.