Did you know that there has been an unfortunate and sad spike in kids and teens in the United States attempting suicide? A study published recently found that, between the years of 2008 and 2015 in the U.S., the number of kids and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts more than doubled.
In addition to this, according to a report released in June 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the people who ended their lives had no known mental health condition. These deaths of despair are tragic and heartbreaking, and it can be extremely difficult to recognize the signs in someone close to you.
Because it is part of our mission at LifeScape to bring awareness to mental health & wellness, and promote health and well being for all individuals, we want to do what we can to help spread the word about suicide prevention.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so we are choosing this month to re-publish the steps found on the #BeThe1To Movement website in the hopes that it might help save a life.
Here’s How You Can #BeThe1To in 5 Steps
The #BeThe1To Movement was started by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and their partners to spread the word about actions all of us can take to help prevent suicide. Here are 5 important steps that could help save the life of a friend or loved one.
#1: Ask & Listen
Ask if your friend or loved one as ever had thoughts of suicide. Be open, kind, and non-judgmental. It’s important to open the door of communication and help them to feel they are in a safe space to express their thoughts and feelings.
Then be sure to listen. Take their answers seriously, and don’t ignore them. Important note: if your friend or loved one is expressing suicidal thoughts, never promise to keep it a secret.
#2: Keep Them Safe
Once it’s been established that suicide is indeed being considered, it’s important to figure out the severity of the situation - is the person in immediate danger? Have they tried to harm themselves before? Be sure to ask them specific questions about their thoughts of suicide and any actions they might have taken or are thinking about taking. If they have a pretty serious plan already, you may need to take immediate action in order to keep them safe. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a good resource if you aren’t sure what to do next.
Image courtesy of #Bethe1To Movement website on Say Thanks page: #bethe1to-saythanks
#3: Be There
Be there for the person. Be supportive. This could mean being physically present with your friend or loved one, or it could mean supporting them over the phone, or whatever way makes the most sense. Really listen to them and be sure to be careful about what you commit to - it’s vital that you don’t commit to anything you can’t follow through on for this person. If necessary, help guide them towards specific resources where they can get help from people who are willing, appropriate, and able to do so.
#4: Help Them Connect
Connecting your friend or loved one who is struggling with thoughts of suicide to resources (like the Lifeline) is really important. If they have these ongoing supports in place, it will really help them when they are in times of crisis.
Help them to build a safety net for themselves of resources, support systems, mental health professionals, anything that might help them when they have bad moments.
#5: Follow Up
Once you’ve established that this person is contemplating suicide, and you’ve connected them to resources that can help them, make sure to follow up to see how they’re doing. Call them, text them, or visit them. These check-ins are crucial in helping your friend or loved one feel supported and connected to someone who cares. This is also a great time for you to make sure you follow up on anything you said you would do for this person.
For more extensive information on each of these five steps, be sure to visit the #BeThe1To Movement website. There is much greater detail on each of these and this site is an incredible resource for anyone looking to help prevent suicide.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, make sure to get help. Your life is precious and you are worth holding on to, no matter what. Contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Make a difference this month - join the movement here. You could save a life.