This article is based on our own experience supporting people who are suicidal, this is our perspective from 6 years daily experience, there has been no evidence sought to support the below article, it is simply our experiences as support workers within suicidology, working with suicidal individuals of all backgrounds, this is how we have been supporting and have kept our mind frame in able for us to support someone who is suicidal, it is also the mind frame in which SAPUK has been progressed upon.
“Supporting someone who is suicidal can be extremely difficult, suicidal thoughts have no time scale on healing nor do they have a specific cure, each person who endures suicidal thoughts, endures this due to a different cause and will need a different and specific healing approach tailored to their needs” – Dan Shaw, Level 6 Psychology undergraduate.
You do not have to be a trained counsellor, psychologist, or doctor to sit and speak with someone who is suicidal anyone can be there for another person, especially if it is needed.
Suicidal thoughts are sometimes repetitive, it is more than likely the case that if you have sat with someone once, you may need to sit with them again and again, but this won’t be forever.
It isn’t easy supporting anyone who is enduring ongoing suicidal thoughts so you need to get support yourself if you are doing so, you can do this by reaching out to a family member or friend or a service which specializes within this area, from personal experience, general, mental health services do not hold the capacity to support someone who is suicidal, as it requires instant, progressive support.
For example, at SAPUK we have been supporting some if not most for more than 6 months, this appears to be persistent throughout our network. Seeing many use our services every day, we hold no limit on who, how, or time frame, by doing this we can re-create trust and confidence within connections.
Someone who is suicidal may not be able to see any positive within the past, present, or future, leaving them with no vision and feeling hopeless about the future. This can become extremely difficult to engage within as sometimes a suicidal person just doesn’t want to hear it. This can create feelings of agitation towards a person who is suicidal, please understand that they are not well mentally and thus may be challenging any positivity, it is important to be patient. Suicidal thoughts generally come in episodes or waves, an individual can be experiencing these thoughts to then feel okay, to then experience trauma and be back with these thoughts, patience is the healer here.
Having suicidal thoughts can replicate a one-way route of isolation, de-formation, belittling, struggle, pain, alienation, disassociation. If you are supporting someone you must be equipped to take on and support all negative traits that can be brought forward when someone is within a suicidal mind. By understanding the traits of an individual and understanding that this isn’t ‘them’ you will have the capacity to be able to help this person heal.
I am not quite sure how to explain this without being scolded or looked down upon by professionals. But we need connection, connection is so important. When embarking upon a counselling course, it is taught to remain professional and without compassion, but a person who is enduring suicidal thoughts needs these feelings of compassion, care, kindness, love, and empathy. There are some attachment issues that can become when connecting with someone who is suicidal, which is why it always recommended to have the person experiencing suicidal thoughts to engage within a professional service as most services are equipped to be able to avoid this attachment style.
It is not easy; it is not easy.
It is extremely important to engage within support if you are supporting someone, this can be any support.
Thank you – we lose to many people via suicide, we need to support each other;