How To Help a Suicidal Family Member

It’s difficult to hear a family member talk about suicide.It can be difficult to know when to help a depressed loved one.You can help a suicidal family member if you recognize their risk for suicide, look for warning signs, and support them over time.

Step 1: Look at how they are acting.

One warning sign that someone may be considering suicide is a big change in behavior.If you pay attention to how the person is acting, you can prevent suicide.When people are considering suicide, they can act recklessly.If your dad starts riding his motorcycle without a helmet, he may be considering taking his own life.They care about possessions so look for signs that they are giving them away.If your cousin gives you a necklace for no reason, she could be suicidal.If they don’t seem interested in things they enjoy, pay attention.If your aunt stops swimming suddenly, this could be a warning sign for suicide.

Step 2: Listen to what they have to say.

Several phrases and comments your family member may say are warning signs that they are considering suicide.Listen for signs that your family member is giving up.It is a sign that your family member is considering suicide if they say things like “I don’t have anything to live for” or ” I’m just so tired of life”.Listen for phrases that suggest your family member would be better off without them.If they say no one gets them or cares about them, notice.Comments like “You don’t understand me” or “No one cares or understands me.”

Step 3: Pay attention to their feelings.

If you notice that a suicidal family member is having a lot of feelings, you can help them.You can help your family member by knowing their feelings of depression, hopelessness, extreme frustration, and exhaustion.Your brother used to be very laid back.He is sad and grumpy all the time.It could be a sign of suicide.”How have you been feeling lately?” is a question you can ask your family member.If they mention having feelings of guilt, failure, hopelessness, depression, or anxiety, you should pay attention.Some people are less agitated when they are considering suicide because they think they have found a solution to their problems.

Step 4: Determine their intent.

If your family member is in the middle of a suicide crisis, you can help them by determining if they are serious about attempting suicide.Knowing their intent will help you decide what to do.Ask your family member if they are thinking about suicide.You could say that you are concerned.If they say they’ve thought about suicide, you should find out how they plan to kill themselves.Do you have a plan for how to do it?If you think they will attempt suicide soon, leave them alone.Contact someone else to come stay if you can’t stay.Don’t leave until the other person arrives.

Step 5: You can use your clasps.

If you know what to do if your family member is suicidal, you will be in a better position.You should connect with your family member and listen to them.It reminds you to understand their feelings, express their concern, and seek help.

Step 6: You can connect with your family member.

Let your family member know that you care about them and are there for them.It is possible for someone to realize how bad things are for them if they are connected with them.Say to your family member, “You may feel alone, but you aren’t.”They should not be told that their problems are not that bad or that they should cheer up.It will make them feel like you don’t understand.If you want to minimize their feelings, don’t ask them why.Let them know that you are with them.Say something like, “I know it’s hard for you right now, and there aren’t any easy solutions.”We can work this out.

Step 7: Listen to what they have to say.

You don’t have to say anything to your family member.Listening to them and being with them will give them a chance to talk about how they are feeling.Let your family member know that you care about them.The TV or music should be turned off.Put your electronic devices down.If you need to call for help, keep your phone nearby, but don’t check notifications.

Step 8: Understand how they feel.

Don’t tell your family member what to do.If you can imagine how your family member is feeling, you will understand what they are going through.If I were in this situation, how would I feel?You can tell your family member that you know what it’s like to be discouraged.I can only imagine how hard it is for you.

Step 9: Let them know that you are concerned for them.

You can help a suicidal family member by letting them know that you care about them and want to help.Like connecting with a family member, expressing your concern is a way to understand their feelings.When you are talking to them, be genuine.You can say something like, “I am concerned about you and want to help you with this situation, but I don’t know everything.”

Step 10: Help your family member.

If you think your family member is going to attempt suicide, then you need to get help immediately.Even if your family member doesn’t want help, you should get it so that you can keep them safe and prevent them from attempting suicide.You can call a crisis hotline like 1-800-SUICIDE.The Crisis Text Line can be reached at 741741.If a suicidal person is in immediate danger or is hurting themselves, they can be taken to the emergency room.Let your family member know that you are worried and want to get help.You could say, “I want to keep you safe and I know this is the best way to do that right now” and then call for help.If your loved one is seeing a mental health professional, you should encourage them to call their therapist if you believe they are suicidal.

Step 11: Spend time with them.

Spending time with your family member is the easiest way to determine their risk for suicide.You can notice how they are acting when you are around them.You can talk to them about what’s going on in their life.It is possible to do something as simple as call or video chat with them.It is possible to spend time in person just by visiting them.Ask how their life is going.You could say, “How are things going?”Anything major happened recently?

Step 12: Ask about the recent risks.

It is more likely that someone will attempt suicide if there are some stressors.Asking your family member how at risk they are for suicide can help you understand.Find out if anyone they care about has died recently.Death of a loved one can increase a family member’s suicide risk.You could ask your family member how everyone is doing.Ask about recent losses like a break-up, losing a job, or a title or position.You could ask how your job is going.How are you playing basketball?

Step 13: There are on-going and past risks.

It is possible that your family member is at risk for suicide because of things that have been happening in their life for a while.Some things in your family member’s past may put them at greater risk.You can prevent them from attempting suicide by finding out about these things.If they have attempted suicide before, they are more likely to attempt it again.Find out if your family member is being mistreated.They may view suicide as a way to end their suffering if they have chronic pain or a mental illness.Ask if anyone else in the family has taken their own life.A family history of suicide can increase a person’s risk of attempting it.Do you know if anyone in the family has ever attempted or died from suicide, or if they are taking any SSRI antidepressants?

Step 14: A support team should be formed.

Your family member may want you to keep your mouth shut.To help them, you need to let someone close to you know what’s going on.It will be easier to make sure the person isn’t suicidal if there is a support team around.Let your family member know that someone else can help them.You might say, “I’m not trying to tell everyone what is going on, but we do need to let someone else know so that they can help us with this.”You can tell someone else if you have to.If your cousin is dealing with emotional stuff we need help with, get the help of a doctor or therapist as soon as possible.Specific problems can be helped by support groups.Ask your loved one’s doctor or therapist for support group recommendations if you want to look online.

Step 15: A safety plan can be created for a suicidal person.

This plan can help your family member who is suicidal.It allows you and the support team to know what to do if your family member is considering suicide again.The Suicide Prevention Safety Plan can be downloaded or printed.Ask your family member to help create the safety plan.They can know that people care about them.If possible, get a therapist or doctor to help you create the plan.They will have suggestions on how to make the plan work.

Step 16: It’s a good idea to check on your family member often.

After the threat is over, people stop checking on suicidal family members.You need to know that you care for your family member.Before the situation gets really bad again, you should check on your suicidal family member.Spending time with them on a regular basis is a way to check on them without it seeming weird.If your loved one is left alone for long periods of time, this may cause them to ruminate.Encourage them to see friends and family frequently.When you are checking on a family member, you don’t have to mention suicide.If things seem okay, just observe them.Ask the doctor or therapist on the support team if they can check-in with your suicidal family member on a regular basis.

Step 17: Encourage healthy choices for your family member.

Physical problems can be caused by emotional stress.Some physical problems can cause a person to become so emotionally stressed that they consider suicide.Encourage a suicidal family member to take care of their physical and emotional health.It’s a good idea to talk to your family member about the right amount of sleep.If you want to promote physical activity, invite your family member to go for a hike, a game of racquetball, or a quick tennis match.They can cope with their feelings by avoiding drugs and alcohol.It is possible that your family member will attempt suicide because of substance abuse.Help your loved one find solutions to their problems.Helping your loved one develop a plan to get out of debt may help them feel better about the situation if their financial situation is driving their decision to take their life.

Step 18: Take care of yourself as well.

It can be hard to focus on your own well-being when you support your loved one.To help you understand your own needs, be sure to practice self-care.If you develop a plan and still feel overwhelmed, try to find professional help to guide you through difficult times.