5 Ways To Be There For Your Loved Ones With Mental Illnesses
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

5 Ways To Be There For Your Loved Ones During Suicide Awareness Month

September is Suicide Awareness Month, and there are so many simple ways that you can make a difference.

900
5 Ways To Be There For Your Loved Ones During Suicide Awareness Month

Suicide takes the lives of over 40,000 people in the United States each year and that number is on the rise. Suicide is not something we can always predict because so many people internalize their struggles rather than reaching out for help that could have saved their life. With everything from the global pandemic, natural disasters, and the national decline in mental health, it is more important than ever to check in on our loved ones. Here are five ways we can do just that.

1. Create and maintain a support system 

A strong support system can be extremely beneficial to the mental health of your loved ones. It is so important that we let loved ones know that they are not alone and that at the end of the day, they have resources to turn to. This could be a circle of trust among friends and family, finding positive connections through social networks, or even joining a club with likeminded individuals. Any of these options will create connections and help fight off loneliness. We should encourage loved ones to make and maintain connections like these, as well as maintaining our role in that.

Reach out to make plans and ask, "How was your day/week?"

Check-in with your loved ones and ask them, "How have you been feeling lately?"

These small gestures show you care about their mental state and that you want them to be an active part of your life.

2. Be present during conversation 

Someone struggling with suicidal ideation, or any sort of suicidal thoughts, often feels as though they are a bother to the ones they care about. These feelings of being unimportant and unworthy of love will make them less likely to reach out for help. This is why it's so important to express gratitude and love for the people around us. Even little phrases like "I'm sorry, I'm probably talking too much" or "No, I'm OK, it's not important" should be curved. No matter how big or small a comment might be, we should make sure that the person we are talking to knows that we are eager to listen and that their thoughts are important. It may also be helpful to put away electronics and focus on the person, ensuring they have your full attention.

3. Pay attention to little details 

Similar to depression, suicidal ideation doesn't just appear out of nowhere, full force. It often slowly creeps into the brain and becomes more prominent over time. Pay attention to the little details of your loved ones' behavior. If you begin to notices things like a decline in hygiene, the person becoming more and more distant in conversation, inability to keep their living area clean, or general disarray, is might be beneficial to reach out. You can simply ask how they are doing or where they feel their mental state is, but include that you have noticed some change in how they are acting. This will let them know that you are paying attention to them, that they are important enough to you to do that, and loved enough to have someone show concern in their well being.

4. Practice understanding 

When a loved one expresses thoughts of suicide or any kind of mental struggle, it can be hard to process. For many, the first reaction will be to ask "Why?" This is something we should try to shy away from. In many cases, the person experiencing these feelings may not even know for sure themselves. Instead, we should try our best to take a more understanding approach. Asking "How can I help?" may put less pressure on the individual to decipher all of their feelings, and shifts the focus to their well being rather than our confusion. Reaching out doesn't always mean directly asking someone if they are OK — it can also be asking how you can make their situation better.

5. Formulate a safety plan 

If your loved ones have a history of mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or manic episodes, pay attention to warning signs and patterns during those times because they will most likely arise again. Behaviors like elevated aggression, withdrawing from family and friends, and mood swings could allude to a crisis developing.

It is also important to pay attention to physical changes, as well, such as loss or gain of weight, dark circles from lack of sleep or over-sleeping, and injuries to the body. By knowing your loved ones' warning signs, you can provide them with resources before the crisis develops and worsens. Suggest that they socialize with people that distract them from negativity, contact family or friends that are close to them and have experience in handling a crisis, and have a list of local mental health professionals, emergency rooms, and numbers for hotlines in case of an emergency. Creating these safety measures for our loved ones can provide them with a sense of security and be a difference between life and death.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Report this Content
Lifestyle

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.

61031

Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Odyssey Template: 25 Questions For My State's Elected Officials

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We fought for these ideals, we shouldn't settle for less."

4359

Whether you're interested in how democracy works, how stop signs get installed, or anything in between, this is your opportunity to ask questions. This is your opportunity to show current and future members of your community what, in your opinion, is most important as your town, city, and state are trying to put the best, most effective practices forward.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.

24882

The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.

188936

For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Who is ready to fa-la-lall in love with holiday-themed sex toys that will make you jingle all the way? If you're biting your lip and your legs are quivering with excitement, hold on to Santa's sleigh reins because there are so many ways to celebrate the season.

Festive sex toys are here to bring you some holiday cheer. From candy cane flavored everything to bright red bows, there is fun for everyone. Feel free to treat yourself or add these 15 festive sex toys to your wish list.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.

113263

When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

7 Reasons 'Hubie Halloween' Is A Must-Watch Halloween Film For October Movie Nights

Just knowing it's an Adam Sandler movie, you can assume it's funny but very ridiculous.

346
Netflix

"Hubie Halloween" was just released on October 7. It follows Hubie Dubois in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween. He patrols the town to make sure people are safe. He's the kindest and caring person in the town and also the most bullied.

This poor man is scared of everything. He screams when he sees scary decorations and when people prank him. Definitely a laugh, but when I watched it, I felt bad for him. The one person that pulled at my heartstrings is Violet Valentine, a woman he had a crush on since high school. She's super nice to him and stands up for him when she can. It was great seeing someone, other than his grandma, on Hubie's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

While this is my first ever presidential election, I have voted before in others, including at least one other "off" year election. I can honestly say that one of the things that made voting for the first time interesting was that I personally don't really identify myself with either party completely.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

7 Ways You Can Volunteer Virtually In The Middle Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Use that anxious energy from dreading the rest of 2020, and put it towards volunteering

196

Life has shifted from face-to-face to face-to-screen-to-face this past year. There's no need, though, to wait out the pandemic to make a difference from home. Rather than spending the unexpected free time the rest of this year dreading each day, use that same energy towards volunteering from the comfort of your bed or couch or patio.

Here are seven ways you can volunteer safely and virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Hilarious Netflix Specials To Binge If You Need A Laugh In 2020

Netflix specials are single-handedly keeping my spirits high.

159
Netflix

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have re-watched these comedy specials over the course of the last seven months.

What I can tell you is how absolutely great these comedians are. They bring me joy when I am sad, bored, or wanting to tune into something while I work on school or my virtual job.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

"Emily in Paris" is one of the newest Netflix original series and it began streaming on the platform on October 2.

I knew this was going right to the top of my watch list because I have a serious girl crush on Lily Collins, it's from the creator of "Sex and the City", and the plot feeds directly into my "Mamma Mia" fantasy of just hopping on a plane and killing it in a whole new country. Not going to lie, the series has its slightly cringe-y moments, but that honestly makes me love it even more.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

10 Songs We All Need To Add To Our Fall Roadtrip Playlist

This songs are guaranteed to make you feel like the main character this fall.

233
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

One of the best feelings is driving with the windows down. Listening to the right song makes that experience even better. If you want to feel like the main character in your own teen movie, listen to these feel-good classic songs right away.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments