One barrier that prevents people from seeking help is finding it awkward to talk about being suicidal.
So why is it hard to share thoughts about suicide to other people?
One thing is for sure, it is an incredibly personal thing to share and it definitely makes sense to feel nervous or scared about letting other people know. It could also be the stigma and the fear of judgement that comes with it, or perhaps it’s feeling guilty of feeling suicidal. It could also be not knowing how the other person will react; will it be negative? Disappointing? Or maybe we view it as pointless because will telling other people actually magically make these thoughts disappear?
I can’t guarantee that it will, but why should we still consider telling other people?
• Well it might be for support and understanding
• To not feel alone
• Or maybe to feel like you’ve let go of this ‘secret’
• To share and connect with people who experience similar things
• To share with a professional who might be able to help navigate through these feelings
• A starting point to get help
Now if you do decide to let another person know, it might be confusing to know where to even begin.
Well firstly, it is important that you find the right person. It could be someone that you trust or someone you’re close with; someone that is likely to be understanding. Let them know that you want to talk about something serious. Explain to them your situation, what you are feeling and why you might be feeling that way. Take your time to let them know what is going on and remember that they might have different reactions. They might react shock initially or surprised. Give them time to process and let them respond when they are ready. You might also want to let them know how they can help you.
The unfortunate thing is, we are not able to control other people’s reactions and sometimes, the people you do decide to tell can react negatively. The ones you trust or the ones you thought are supposed to love you unconditionally might be judgmental or dismissive; I hope you understand that it will take them time for them to fully understand what you may be going through. Try giving them information regarding mental health and letting them know that their negative reaction is hurtful and not helpful. I think it is also important to understand that knowing a loved one is suicidal may be a hard thing, let them process it and let them learn. Now this does not mean that you should bottle up all your feelings, talk to someone that might be able to support you.
Like…. your psychologist or professional mental health physician. It might feel weird to tell someone you absolutely not know anything about, something about you that is incredibly personal and something that might even scare yourself, but a psychologist or a professional may just be the person that is able to help you manage through those feelings. Going through what you are actually feeling, why you are feeling that way and how to prevent feeling that way. They are able to work together with you to recognise triggers and find coping mechanisms or ways around those triggers. They are able to support you and give you tips when facing these thoughts.
Telling someone you are feeling suicidal can be a hard thing to do and sometimes can be incredibly nerve wracking, don’t be too hard on yourself about not being able to talk about it however, do know that help is out there and it starts with letting someone know.
If you or someone you know is in imminent danger of suicide take them to a hospital or call emergency services on 119. If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, contact the following list of mental health hospitals which are available to provide crisis support.