Suicide Prevention Day

How our attitudes towards suicide can change

Authors: Betsy Humberstone
  • Reading time: 3 min.
  • Posted on: September 10, 2021

We are living in a time where many people suffer from poor mental health, and for a lot of people, suicidal thoughts interlink. The society we are living in speaks somewhat openly about mental health but we still have a long way to go in terms of destigmatising it. Whether it is your partner, friends or family, speaking to somebody about your feelings can take a little bit of pressure off and decloud your mental space. There are countless reasons why somebody can have suicidal thoughts ranging from bereavement, living alone, difficult life events, problems at work and even some medication (such as acne meds); let’s come together to help those around us reach out – it is the first step towards recovery. 

We need to create a safe space for those around us to express themselves openly and wholeheartedly, without fear of judgement. The language we use when speaking to somebody who is struggling is very important; we are here to listen, not to presume. Suicidal thoughts often go hand-in-hand with self-depreciation, which can leave you feeling not good enough, a burden or alone, so when we are speaking to somebody who is suffering from these thoughts, we need to use inclusive language to let them know that we are here to support them in any way we can. 

We need to create a safe space for those around us to express themselves openly and wholeheartedly, without fear of judgement.

Sometimes when we are talking to our loved ones about experiences, it is easy to share similar stories to empathise, but sometimes we end up taking away from what they are experiencing and making it about ourselves. When speaking to somebody who is struggling, it is important that we let them lead the conversation at their own pace and share as much as they are comfortable with as talking about it can be hard, so creating a space of trust is of utmost importance. It is also key to remember that you are not a trained professional so don’t try to diagnose them or make them second guess their own feelings, we are here to offer a safe space with no distractions. Encourage them to be as open as they can, and repeat things back occasionally to show them that you are listening, and you understand what they are going through. Give them time to speak through their feelings and take everything into consideration; if you are not sure what to say, just remind them that you are present. 

If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts and speaking about your feelings is daunting, there are other ways to express what you are going through. You can try writing it down in a letter and handing it to somebody that you trust; this can also be very cathartic as you are processing what you’re saying, and writing it down can affirm your feelings. You can also try to film a video of you speaking – you can say everything that comes to your mind without hesitation meaning there is no filter and those you send it to can see your expression as you explain it, or you can alternatively call a charity if you are not ready to speak to those around you. 

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and would prefer to speak to somebody who is impartial, a member of our team has put together a resource list of charities that can support you, specialising in a range of mitigating factors.