Helping Someone You Love Struggling With Intrusive Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide is a big issue for young adults in The United States. So, it’s something we have to take very seriously, especially if we recognize that a loved one is struggling with intrusive suicidal thoughts. Sadly, around 100 people die from suicide each and every day in the US. But, if you are worried about a loved one who is living with suicidal thoughts or even has attempted suicide before, there are some things you can do to help.

The Signs of Suicidal Thoughts in a Loved One

Realizing that a loved one may be struggling with thoughts of suicide is frightening. It’s never easy to lose a loved one, and losing loved ones in such a traumatic, sudden way, when you know they’re struggling with not wanting to be alive makes it even more challenging to accept. But, helping a person who’s living with suicidal thoughts isn’t easy. That’s because, in many cases, you may not even know they’re dealing with these issues.

In nearly every scenario, suicidal thoughts stem from underlying mental health issues. Therefore, recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues that can stimulate suicidal thoughts and behaviors may be a clue to determining if a loved one is struggling with these issues. Some signs of suicidal thoughts that you can look out for can include:

-avoidance behaviors (not wanting to be around loved ones, attend events, etc.)
-self-harming behaviors (cutting, substance abuse, risky activities, etc.)
-vocalizing that they’re a burden to loved ones and feelings of shame or guilt about these thoughts
-having to ‘finalize’ things (giving away possessions, developing wills, writing goodbye letters, etc.)
-trouble sleeping (either staying asleep, not being able to fall asleep or seemingly never sleeping)
-mention of desiring death or making jokes about dying
-feelings of hopelessness, intense sadness, and episodes of depression

If you Suspect a Loved One of Having Suicidal Thoughts, Get More Information

If you begin to recognize some of the signs of suicidal thoughts or actions in a loved one, the next thing you can do is find out more. Start by asking questions pertaining to these thoughts or actions, like how long they’ve been experiencing intrusive suicidal thoughts. And, if they’ve ever acted on these thoughts. The more information you know, the more you can engage with professionals who may be able to help and provide further assistance. Plus, if you understand more about how they’re feeling and thinking, you can better gauge the situation and determine how severe the issue is.

Provide Support and a Listening Ear

One of the most important things you can do for a loved one who may be contemplating suicide or having thoughts about suicide is to offer support. Let them know that you’re always there to lend a listening ear when these thoughts become overwhelming. And, even more, actually give them that time if they need it. Finally, if you can, don’t leave them alone when they’re having these thoughts, as they’re more likely to not respond to them if they are not alone.

Ask Professionals for Help

Fortunately, mental health treatment can help individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. So, ask your loved one if they’d be open to getting help, tackling the issue of suicidal thoughts, and managing symptoms of their mental health issues. If they’re ready to get help, Southcoast Psychiatric Services offers confidential outpatient treatment services. Find out more about our psychiatric services and counseling today and contact us for more information.