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What do you think most people’s opinions are on suicide? Unfortunately, many people’s opinions are misguided.
This is one of the main reasons it’s so difficult for people to be open or seek help with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. This makes me a little sad because I lost one of my close friends to suicide a few years ago and she was one of the strongest, most selfless human beings you would ever meet. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for having had her in my life.
I believe suicide isn’t a topic our society should shy away from.
Here are a few things within our power that we can do to help someone with this very important issue:
1. Don’t shame people for opening up about having suicidal thoughts or act as if that person only wants attention.
When you do this, it can make a person feel shame and embarrassment. This can cause people to not get the much-needed support they need
2. Support someone who is struggling.
I get that not everyone has a degree in psychology or a background in mental illness. But, if someone is struggling in these areas, you can still support them and let them know that seeking psychological help is not a sign of weakness.
By being there for them and not treating them like a burden is a small act that can go a very long way.
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3. Learn suicide prevention skills.
There are courses available such as the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course. I’m certified in ASIST and I can say that this can help you save a person’s life.
4. Let go of misperceptions.
Being rich, poor, religious or non-religious doesn’t exempt someone from struggling with mental illness. It also isn’t a character flaw or a sign they are a bad person.
5. Believe people and take what they say seriously.
Don’t be demeaning or act as if their mental illness is fake or believe other inaccurate fallacies. Don’t trivialize their issues because that will make a person only feel small and irrelevant. Saying things like “suck it up”, “snowflake”, “just think happy thoughts” or similar statements only belittles them not and does not help them.
On the other hand, if you are having suicidal thoughts, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. You are not alone
Even though you feel alone, I promise you’re not. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends, family, or whoever, there are still plenty of other resources where you can either call, text or online chat with qualified professionals who want to help you (such as Crisis Services Canada and the resources below).
2. Don’t fall for internal or external lies
Remember, you are not weak, selfish, or any of the other negative things some people assume suicide is. You’re a person who needs help and getting that help takes courage.
3. It’s okay to be scared
It’s perfectly normal to be scared to talk about this topic because of how it’s stigmatized in our world. However, I can’t emphasize this enough: you’re not alone.
4. Seek help; you deserve it
There is no shame in reaching out for support. If you don’t know where to turn, here is a list of a few great places where you can get support:
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Line (1-800-273-TALK ) or find a crisis line in your area using befrienders.org.
In closing, to those myself and others have lost to suicide, this song lyric makes me think of you:
“It’s been a long day without you, my friend And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again”
This world is a better place because you were in it and your strength inspired me in so many ways I can’t even count. And one day I hope to see you again just to say thank you.
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