It’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. All people experience troubling times at some points in their lives. Feeling supported by a friend or family member through tough times is an important way to prevent serious mental health outcomes like self-harm or suicide. Knowing how to talk to your loved ones when they are experiencing mental health problems can help them feel supported and connected.

How can I talk about mental health?

  • Ask! We can’t know if our loved ones are going through something if we don’t simply ask them. “I’m worried about you. I’ve noticed that you haven’t been yourself lately. How can I help you through this?”
  • Go at their pace. Don’t pressure them to talk about something they don’t feel comfortable discussing.
  • Be a good listener. Show you understand what they are saying and keep your questions open-ended. Remove distractions.
  • Talk about mental health strategies. Talking about self-care and what they usually find helpful can gently remind them how they can take care of their mental health before they get into a crisis. This is also an opportunity to discuss professional support and help them take the next step if they need additional support.

How do I respond in a crisis?

  • Listen without judgement and pay attention to what they need in that moment.
  • Ask them if there is someone they would like you to contact and encourage them to seek professional help. Call a local crisis line.
  • If you believe someone is actively thinking about suicide and there is an immediate risk of harm, call 911. Remove anything in the area that may be harmful and stay with the person until professional help arrives.

Crisis support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by dialing 1-800-468-4357 (1-800-GOT-HELP) or by calling or texting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 988.

Categories: Mental Health, Resources, Tips