- 2nd Feb, 2017
Few people feel prepared for dealing with someone in their life who is experiencing suicidal thoughts. Even if you’re a spouse or a family member years spent with a person can end up making you more unsure about what you need to do. You’re used to dealing with them in a certain way, making the shift from dealing with average day to day struggles to saying “my girlfriend needs support” or whatever is relevant to you is a big deal. The thing you need to remember is that you aren’t the first person to deal with this sort of situation. People have gone through what you’re going for and you can learn from them. If you keep certain things in mind while talking to someone who is going through a tough time you’ll be able to help or at least do your part to keep things from getting worse.
There is a reason that doctors swear to first “do no harm.” We can’t always solve problems but we can do our best to avoid making things worse. If possible avoid making the person feel worse. You may think, “my husband is depressed, I have to jump into action to fix things.” But sometimes your first impulse can end up making things worse. One thing you should avoid is arguments. You don’t want to make them feel like they are being condemned or judged.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. People who are coping with suicidal thoughts can be very secretive, keeping their emotions to themselves. As you talk to them you want to do what you can to unearth their true feelings. The suffering individual may want you to promise that you won’t talk to anyone else about what you hear. This may seem reasonable in the heat of the moment but it is something you should never promise. If you think someone is seriously going to hurt themselves or someone else you have to tell the proper authorities. Even therapists are required to disclose these sort of details.
Let the other person speak. Sometimes the best treatment for suicidal thoughts is simply sharing them. The best way to encourage this kind of sharing is offering your total attention as a caring and sympathetic friend or loved one. If you start to feel emotional it’s understanding but you should try and stay as calm as possible while avoiding negativity. Becoming argumentative or judgemental may seem like the right thing to do on a rational level but you have to understand that when people are lost in a deeply emotional state they won’t necessarily respond well to being treated critically. Stay attentive and stay positive so you can get what you need to learn in order to seek further help or get in touch with anxiety counselling Surrey Hills.
Remember that you’re not a trained professional. It’s not your job to cure anyone and even therapists with PHDs can’t promise to cure individuals who don’t want to be helped. When you feel like you can’t do anymore don’t feel like you need to push yourself, just find a professional that provides effective counselling and tell them “my boyfriend needs counselling.” Solving the problem isn’t your job, your responsibility is being there for them and continuing to love and care for them.