If you have concern about a friend, a family member or even somebody you’re not close to, we don’t want to wait and see it get to the point of suicide ideation to be offering that support.
It’s the same thing no matter what you’re going through — there’s value in compassion, value in empathy. Lending somebody your kindnesses is reaching out that arm instead of opening your mouth. It’s building up somebody’s strength instead of reminding them of their weakness. And, you don’t always know if somebody is considering suicide, it’s really important to directly ask that question – very directly. Are you considering suicide? And there are sources of support that you can connect an individual to.
Sit next to them and listen
It’s not your job to be the professional and know what to do. But more often than not, somebody will disclose to somebody they already trust. Those resources are out there. We’ve been really careful to make sure that we’re working with all sorts of partners throughout the state to get that communicated. But, within the community itself, people are going to be more likely to disclose that they’re struggling with suicide ideation if they feel like they can trust the person they’re talking to.
And that’s a huge, really vulnerable thing to offer and to be willing to share. Where that can really backfire is if the person asking does jump to the shame or the stigma or trying to talk them out of where their thoughts are by saying “you don’t really feel like that because” or “it’s not that big of a deal” or “this will pass.” — You cannot dismiss those concerns. Sit next to them and hearing them and walk that experience with them.
There are resources out there. There are things you can do.
I always go back again to ask those questions. If you notice something’s off with someone, it’s OK very directly to ask them, “How are you? Are you feeling OK?” If you have a thought that they might be considering suicide, “Are you considering suicide? Have you thought about suicide?” Not at this “Some people, when they’re feeling really depressed, sometimes might think about hurting themselves so that they can make it all go away.” You have to very directly ask, and that requires us as a society to get comfortable asking that question and knowing that if somebody says yes, obviously you’re going to feel panic, like everybody would, but that’s not your job to fix. There are resources out there, there are things you can do just as a friend and just as a family member or somebody coming along that individual that can offer support. And we know, and I think we’ve seen this through COVID, that community is just so critical.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Line at
Text the Crisis Text Line at 741741
We are not paying attention to the good stuff.
Being a black male as a doctor is so rare. It’s so, so rare.