Concern for Others

If someone you know is struggling emotionally or having a hard time, you can be the difference in getting them the help they need. It is also important to take care of yourself when you are supporting someone through a difficult time. Get help for yourself as well.

Be Aware of the Warning Signs

Some warning signs may help you determine if a friend, loved one, or even a stranger, is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline. People will:

  • Talk about wanting to die or to killing themselves
  • Look for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talk about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talk about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talk about being a burden to others
  • Increase the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Act anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleep too little or too much
  • Withdraw or isolate themselves
  • Show rage or talk about seeking revenge
  • Have extreme mood swings

Call For a Friend

  • Although it can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide, but you can help by calling (800) 273-8255. It's hard to know how a suicidal crisis feels and how to act. Call at any time for help if a friend is struggling.

Helps and Hurts/Do's and Dont's

When talking with with friends and loved ones a specific kind of communication can assist. Some suggestions may not feel very comfortable or may seem intrusive. However, very direct communication is helpful to the person you are assisting. Here are some suggestions in 

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare him or her to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, like weapons or pills.
  • Get help from people or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention

Be An Active Listener

Hearing someone talk is different from actively listening to what that person is saying. Active listening requires concentration and understanding. Improving your listening skills is easy to do with practice and these helpful tips.

  • Acknowledge the speaker. This can be as simple as a head nod or an “Uh huh.” By acknowledging the speaker, you are letting them know that you are listening to what they have to say and reminding yourself to pay attention to what is being said to you.

Be An Active Listener for Those with Hearing Loss

When you are dealing with hearing loss, communication can become challenging. Communicating is a two way street and when one half of that is not working optimally, there are active listening strategies that you can use to help bridge that gap. Of course, these listening strategies won’t replace hearing aids, but should be used in conjunction with them to make your communication and effective as possible. Keep these ideas in mind when interacting with others:

  • Don’t hide your hearing loss. When you let others know what you are dealing with,they can accommodate your needs better.
  • Face the person you are talking to and sit close to them.
  • Situate yourself so that the ear you hear better with is aimed at the person speaking.
  • Only converse when someone is in the same room.
  • Never worry about asking someone to repeat themselves. You can even clarify what part of what they said you had trouble hearing. Never just nod and pretend you heard what someone said.
  • Let others know how they can help you hear better and what they can do to communicate with you better.
  • Turn down background noises whenever possible. When at home, turn off the television, radio, and any noises appliances that don’t need to be running when you are conversing. If you are visiting a friend, ask them for these accommodations too.
  • In a crowded or noisy setting away from home, try to sit away from speakers or the kitchen and look for the quietest area to sit in. Consider the lighting too so that you can see the people you are talking to and pick up on visual queues.
  • Try to limit distractions. Listening takes more work than talking, so you have to concentrate on it. Focus on what is being said.
  • Use assistive hearing technology in conjunction with your hearing aids to help you hear at your best.

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