It’s a truly terrible feeling to know that someone you care about is hurting and there is little you can do to help them.  Today we are going to examine things you can do when you know someone you care about is depressed and you worry they are contemplating self-harm.  

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

It’s great to check in when you know someone is hurting or out of sorts, it becomes pestering when you keeping asking, “Are you ok?  Are you sure?  Really, you’re ok?”  You wouldn’t like it if someone did that to you and it certainly wouldn’t make you feel better.  Ask once, if the other person doesn’t want to talk about it, let them know if that if that ever changes you are willing and ready to listen.

Love conquers all most

Unfortunately, it is not possible to love the hurt, depression and thoughts of self-harm out of someone else.  It is also not possible to convince them to be happy by pointing out all the good things they have to be grateful for or how much better they have it than you do.  Sometimes, the situation requires professional help and that is not a failing on the part of anyone.  

It’s lonely in there

Many people who are or become depressed isolate slowly as though they are fading into the background.  Try not to take this too personally, they are not doing it to you or because they want to have a lot of distance from you, they are often lost in their own thoughts and overwhelm and often think that you have better things to do than to hear about their problems.  If they haven’t reached out, you can!

Random acts of kindness

Remember when it is was cool to go to Starbuck’s and buy the coffee of the person behind you in the drive thru?  There have been movies and online stories that have made the idea of random acts of kindness fall in and out of popularity over the years.  Why not do it for someone in your life.  The best way to do these sorts of things is when you do not intend to get anything back.  But we never know how much a small gesture can mean to someone. 

Huh?  What?

Who doesn’t love a good distraction?  We have all needed a break from our thoughts and work and stresses.  Sometimes, the best thing we can offer someone else is a distraction from their own worries and stresses.  Maybe it is by spending time doing something you both enjoy, perhaps you invite them to help you something they are good at or even ask them to listen to what’s going on with you.  Offering someone who is in pain a break from their problems can have the added benefit of helping them feel less alone and stuck.  

And how are you?

At times, the only thing we can do for someone we care for who is hurting is to take care of ourselves.  Make sure that we are healthy and have what we need to be well.  It may sound counter intuitive but if you imagine it like training for the day when they are finally ready for your help and you’ll be healthy and able to spring in to action.  

If you feel like your safety or someone else's safety is in jeopardy call 911. If you feel as though there is a risk but you are sure that it is eminent call: 1-800- 273-TALK (8255).

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!

Today is World Health Day and this year the World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated today to suicide prevention.  While suicide is on the decline for some of Europe, according to the WHO someone in the world dies of suicide every 40 seconds.  Their goal with focusing on suicide prevention today is to try and attract attention of governments in order to reduce stigma and increase resource funding.  

Suicide has become a global health crisis and the 10th leading cause of death in the US – a rate that has risen 30% since 1999.  It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years olds.

Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for every adult (over the age of 18) that commits suicide, there are about 30 other adults who have made an attempt.  This means we all know someone who has contemplated suicide, even if they have not shared those feelings.   

Depression is lonely and painful and many people may slowly descend into their depression.  Possible warning signs to look out for: 

  • No longer enjoying hobbies
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Out of character/inappropriate behavior at work like arguing with peers and supervisors, getting customer complaints, absenteeism
  • Making mistakes they would not normally make
  • Stealing
  • Financial stress
  • Odd/out of character social media posts
  • Changes in sleep (increases or decreases)
  • Changes in appetite (increases or decreases)

Prevention challenges

There are some challenges with suicide prevention. First, and probably most notably is the stigma that comes with mental health. It is difficult to admit that you do not have it all under control and the are in need of support and help. In my office, I regularly hear people tell me that their problems are not as bad as someone else's and there for they should not "need" help or support. The truth is that we all need help and support and measuring one person's suffering to another's is dangerous.

Making it further difficult to prevent, there is not a lot of great data on suicide and suicide attempts. There are a lot of people who do not seek medical attention after they harm themselves and/or when they do, they claim that it was an accident and the injury is not properly documented.

If you are someone you know....

Thoughts of suicide are common. Being sad sometimes is part of being a human. Needing support and help at different stages of life is healthy, normal and standard in order grow and make needed changes. If you feel like your safety or someone else's safety is in jeopardy call 911. If you feel as though there is a risk but you are sure that it is eminent call: 1-800- 273-TALK (8255).

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!

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