Asking for help is not easy, especially when it is to convey grim news about suicide and self-harm. Mental health is still in its infancy, especially in India, and the stigma around it can be very unnerving for many. However, asking for help is still an important step towards walking away from painful thoughts.
On the positive side, mental health is slowly getting a glimmer of recognition with suicide being considered as a very serious matter, that can be tracked and nipped, right from the bud. There are family members, friends, mental health experts, NGO workers and counsellors, devoted to assisting those who are raging these battles alone.
We spoke to Dr Malini Saba, a psychologist, Founder and Chairman at Anannke Foundation to understand how to approach loved ones and confide in them if someone is having suicidal thoughts and here's what she had to say:
If you are someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, understand that you are not weak, but saddened and overwhelmed by life's pressure and constant challenges. It is okay to be sad but it is vital to know that you have the strength to make a fresh start again.
Keep This In Mind
- You should not blame yourself! It is natural to feel physically, emotionally and mentally drained and should not be considered a sign of weakness.
- Asking for help is a sign of strength.
- Suicide is not the only option.
- A mental health expert is here to help and not patronize. There is nothing wrong with seeking help, despite the stigma around it.
- Not every friend or family member is strong enough to support some struggling mentally. Talk to other people and of course, a mental health expert.
How Should You Let Your Loved Ones Know About Your Suicidal Thoughts?
The second person cannot imagine what you might be going through or understand your struggle. It is important to paint a picture for them, describing your difficulties and vulnerabilities in detail, helping them help you. Here’s how you can let them know what’s going on in your mind.
1. Having A One-On-One Conversation
Start your conversation with statements like, “I need to tell you something very important. I am having suicidal thoughts. I feel that my life is really overwhelming and the pressure is unbearable. I am unable to handle the pressure and lately, have been thinking of ending my suffering”.
You can also begin with, “ I need your help. Everything seems too hard to handle and I am thinking of ending my life”.
2. Talking Via Doctor Or Counsellor
It is not easy telling your loved ones about harming yourself. To ease the burden, it is always a good idea to talk to a counsellor who can help articulate your message to your loved ones.
Mental health experts understand both ends of the coin and they are more adept at reducing the shock factor that may come as a result of confession to suicidal thoughts.
3. By Connecting With The Faith Community
Most families, who follow a particular faith, tend to be a part of common communities. If you are dealing with suicidal thoughts, talking to a spiritual leader or a leader figure in your own community can not only help step away from these thoughts but also connect you with your loved ones, explaining to them your struggle and hardships.
4. Talking To A Crisis Line
Every country has a suicide line, operational for 24 hours where affected people can get in touch with trained counsellors who can help pave a path to telling loved ones and to a treatment plan with the local mental health expert.
It is important that you don’t try coping with your suicidal thoughts alone. Talking to your loved ones and mental health experts plus the right treatment can help overcome issues related to suicidal thinking.
Mental health experts offer coping mechanisms customized for you, your thoughts and your approach to life. Talk about these strategies with your loved ones and include them in your treatment to make it easier to wage this war.
Overcoming suicidal thoughts is an uphill climb, but with the right support, those affected by the psychological issue can counter their own demons. It is important for loved ones to keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs and consult an expert to help rid their family or friends of suicidal tendencies.