For someone else
You may have noticed a change in the way a loved one or a friend is behaving, or maybe you think they are not coping with a situation. What can you do to help?
It is often our personal hunches that makes us aware that somebody's state of mind might not be quite right, even if they say they are fine. In that situation what do you do?
You don't have to be an expert on mental health to talk to someone! Just asking someone how they are can make a big difference. Allowing someone to to talk about things can mean a lot, especially if they have felt they had nobody to talk to. Just knowing you are thinking about them, and that you care, can be a big help. By listening and being supportive they may feel able to open up, and if need be get help. It might not happed straight away, so try not to focus on their feelings too much, just talking about everyday things will help the person to feel normal too. Opening up for the first time about feelings or things that worry us can be a scary thing to do, so be patient!
If you think your friend or loved one needs to speak to a professional, then encourage and support them as much as you can to take that first difficult step. Taking those first steps is going to be really hard, so if they are worried and unsure, offer to be with them when they make the phone call, or why not go with them to their appointment? Just knowing they have your support and understanding will be a huge support.
Don't be afraid to ask someone if they have had suicidal thoughts or if they are thinking of suicide. There is a mis-conception that by simply asking, you are putting the idea into their head. Openly listening and discussing someone's thoughts of suicide can be a source of relief for them. As mentioned above, asking and listening can be one of the most important steps you can take in supporting someone.
If you believe the person has an immediate suicide plan and means to carry it out then do not leave them alone - get help immediately by phoning 999.