Talking About Suicide With Someone You’re Concerned About
The causes behind suicide contagion (also called copycat suicide) aren’t well understood. The lack of understanding makes some people hesitant to discuss suicide at all, as they are worried it may trigger suicidal thoughts in the person they are concerned about. However, talking about suicide with someone who is struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts does not cause suicide ideation. Talking about suicide accomplishes several things:
Relieves isolation – Suicidal thoughts grow stronger when the person feels isolated from others, with young women being more strongly affected by social isolation than young men. When you reach out to a suicidal person, you are directly relieving their isolation.
Allows venting – Opening up about suicidal thoughts can be difficult. By you opening up the discussion, the burden of confession is off their shoulders and the suicidal person is able to release their pent up feelings.
Helps re-assessment – Ideas that may seem reasonable when alone don’t always hold up when brought up to others. By discussing suicide, you are giving the person a chance to see how suicide is not the only option to solve their problems.
Therapy is another great tool to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts. There is specialized therapy for adolescents who are burdened with suicidal tendencies, and in the non-judgemental atmosphere a therapist provides, a struggling loved one can start their journey toward recovery.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t be afraid to talk to someone you know who may have suicidal thoughts, especially after a publicized suicide. Rather than trigger their own suicide, talking to them about suicide is one of the best things you can do.