You don’t need to be a trained professional to help someone you think is suffering. You just need to be able to listen and be there for them.
Anyone can experience suicidal thoughts and they are unique to them. Some people’s thoughts come and go whilst others might experience for longer periods of time. The best thing to do is to ask them directly how they are feeling and give them the opportunity to share where their mind is at. It can be difficult to know how to help but by just listening and being there for them will make a huge difference.
• Becoming distant and avoiding spending time with people
• Not taking part in activities they would usually enjoy
• Finding it hard to cope with everyday tasks or avoiding them at all costs
• Seeming agitated, wound up, restless, tearful or even angry
• Extreme mood swings – low to high and vice versa
• Talking or obsession about death, dying or suicide
• Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or being so down its unbearable
• Talking about being a burden to others or not having a reason to live or carry on with life
• Increasing use of drugs and alcohol
• Too much or too little sleep
• Strange behaviour that is totally out of character
• Focusing on saying goodbye
Often it is those people who that don’t give any warning signs that need the most help. They might not have a history of mental illness but be aware if a fellow fusilier has had a recent family argument, relationship breakdown, a bereavement or has incurred debt or financial worries.
If you are worried about someone, stay with them in person or over the phone. Encourage them to do the following or contact on their behalf
• Ring the Samaritans on 116 123
• Go through a safety plan with them if they have one
• Call their mental health worker or GP
• Call 999 or visit A&E if they are in immediate danger
• Contact someone in the Regiment – either First or Fifth Battalions Unit Welfare Office staff or Regimental HQ via Regimental Welfare Mentors. on, email@example.com and 07514 617288
It’s important to remember that you need tobe ready to listen when they feel the time is right, so be able to give them the attention they need. Be patient and use encouraging language to make them feel at ease. If they aren’t ready to talk just make sure they know that youare always there for them whenever that might be. It’s also OK to be honest and direct with them in terms of what they are thinking but try not to panic. Try to stay calm and be as supportive as you can.
There are lots of free resources out there which will give you the skills to help someone struggling with suicidalthoughts. Zero Suicide Alliance is a comprehensive guide to follow here.
A safety plan enables us to be positive and outlines what we can do ourselves to get through difficult times or crisis points in our lives. They also help to
• Find ways of keeping us safe from suicide
• Positive ways in which we can distract ourselves from negative thinking
• Reminds us who is there to give support when we need it
• Gives ideas of what we can do if we feel at immediate risk of harming ourselves.
The plan can be put together by yourself or with someone you trust.
If you are worried about someone thinking of suicide you can suggest you work with them to make a safety plan together.
Below is a link to an online resource – 4 Mental Health who have developed a really helpful guide that explains how to create a safety plan.