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How to Talk About Suicidal Ideation With Your Loved One

Do you suspect or know that your loved one is struggling with suicidal ideation? Suicidal ideation, or suicidal thoughts and ideas, can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. If your loved one is struggling with this, intervening and helping them could literally save their life. Here are a few ways to talk about suicidal ideation with your loved one.

Talk About it Directly

In the past, there have been a lot of stigmas around suicidal ideation. Because of these stigmas and the seriousness of the topic, you probably aren’t super comfortable talking about it initially. However, one of the most helpful things you can do for your loved one who struggles with suicidal ideation is to talk about it directly and specifically. Use specific terms such as “suicidal thoughts” in your conversation. Specificity and clarity will help you to fully understand what your loved one is experiencing. If you aren’t afraid to talk about what your loved one is experiencing, that will show them how much you care for them and want them to find happiness and healing.


Recognize Signs and Triggers

Next, you can help your loved one to recognize the signs and triggers of their suicidal ideation. Talk about their feelings together to try to identify when they’re feeling most vulnerable about suicide. Often, those who experience suicidal ideation are already struggling with mental health issues that might not be treated properly, if at all. The pain of their depression or mental health issue combined with stressful and overwhelming circumstances can lead them to think that suicide will be the only solution to the pain and darkness that they feel. While this may seem irrational to you, those feelings are very real for them in the moment. Talk together to figure out how you can relieve some of the stress placed upon them to get to a better mental health space.

Seek Help Together

Everyone’s mental health journey is different and individual. So, it is important to remember that the solutions that have worked for some people might not work as well for your loved one. Be patient, consistent, and loving as you work through this journey and seek help together. Some individuals who experience suicidal ideation can benefit a lot from meeting with a mental health therapist or counselor. A counselor can help them to better understand their emotions and feelings, which could help them to find triggers for their suicidal ideation. A mental health counselor could also help your loved one to receive a diagnosis for their mental health, which could enable them to access medications and evidence-based treatments that could be life-changing.

So, if you are worried that one of your loved ones is experiencing suicidal ideation, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Remember to use direct and specific terms when you’re speaking about suicide, recognize signs and triggers, and seek help together. This will help you to aid your loved one in the process of finding relief and healing from their mental health difficulties.

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