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Love yourself as you love them: Supporting family or loved ones experiencing suicidal thoughts.

A guide on supporting family or loved ones experiencing suicidal thoughts while prioritizing your mental health.


It is undoubtedly challenging to support someone who has suicidal thoughts, and as much as we want them not to think that way or start feeling better straight away, we cannot do that. Supporting them is a long process that requires a lot of patience and compassion. It is also essential to look out for yourself and prioritize your well-being and mental health. Think of it this way, if you are not okay, how will you show up for them?

Two women facing each other talking.

1. Encourage Professional Help:

Social support and compassion for a loved one who struggles with suicide are beneficial and important. However, professionals such as counselors and therapists are trained for these exact situations. They can offer much-needed insight and support. So gently encourage your loved ones to seek out professionals and support them while they do. This way, they have more tools to fend off unwanted thoughts.

Two teenagers hugging.

2. Celebrate Their small steps:

One simple way to support someone going through this is to celebrate their small achievements. Mental health impacts all areas of life and everyday tasks that we usually do not think twice about can become daunting and extremely difficult to accomplish. So recognizing that getting out of bed, eating a full meal, or taking a walk as a step in the right direction can be incredibly supportive and incentivize your loved ones to keep going.

Two woman supporting each other.

3. Communicate openly and listen!

Sometimes there is not a lot you can do except listen. Provide your loved ones with a safe, judgment-free environment. Validate their feelings and listen to their thoughts. It can be hard to hear your loved ones talk about suicide, or giving up, so make sure you communicate honestly and openly. Give space without taking away from your peace of mind.

Self care sign with colorful flowers in the background.

4. Seek help and monitor your well being

When those around us are going through an especially difficult time, it becomes easy to minimize our thoughts and feelings. Remember that hearing such things can impact your well-being. Doing so doesn’t mean you cannot be there for those suffering; it just means you are showing up for yourself too. Try and monitor your thoughts and feelings, and if you notice that you start to feel burnt out or emotionally fatigued, seek help from professionals and other loved ones.

Word blocks with green plant.


5. Set boundaries and Practice self-care: Sometimes it is enough to know that your loved one is safe. We all have more challenging days than others, so make sure you set firm boundaries and practice self-care. Take time from your day that is strictly for you. Take a walk, draw a nice bath, or go out with a few friends. Remember, your loved ones may benefit from your support, avoid blaming yourself when you need a break or if you can’t show up all the time. In the end, you are only human.


Remember, people experiencing suicidal thoughts may be going through difficult times. Supporting them can go a long way; educate yourself so they don’t have to, listen to them when needed, encourage them to seek help, and show up for them when needed. Encourage them to create a safety plan and make sure that they have access to it whenever needed.


Reach out today to schedule a free phone consultation if you or your loved one would like to speak with one of our Licensed Psychotherapists.


Reference:

Freedenthal, S. (2023). Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts. New Harbinger Publications.

 

About Wellness Tree Counseling...


Our mission at Wellness Tree Counseling is to promote wellness through a culturally sensitive lens so that individuals, families and communities are encouraged to rise to their full potential and engage life in meaningful ways.


Our vision is to provide the BIPOC community with comprehensive holistic care that empowers and equips them with skills to work toward improved mental health and well-being. We take great pride in treating the whole-person.


At Wellness Tree Counseling, we value treating our clients and community with C.A.R.E. (Compassion, Affirming, Respect, & Empathy).



To learn more about our services, please visit www.wellnesstreecounseling.com




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