Penny Carlo   -  

The Mental Health and Wellness Ministry welcomes this opportunity to share #Bethe1to in our new WMPC blog.

In 2020 a survey was conducted in which 95% of the respondents stated they would want to help someone experiencing suicidal thoughts. 70% of those 95% identified barriers to helping an individual. The primary barrier was being unsure of what to say. Here is a 5 Step guide:

  1. Ask. “Are you thinking about suicide?” This un-biased question can communicate your willingness to seek the right support for them. Listen to their reasons for their emotional state and believe them. Help them focus on their reasons to live. Remember, the research shows that talking about suicide ideation reduces suicide ideation. Do not ever promise to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.
  2. Be there. This can be in person or on the phone. It is important to follow through with what you can commit to. Attempt to ascertain people who may be of support and what help the individual is wanting.
  3. Keep them safe. After the “ask” step, it is important to determine the immediacy of the danger, asking questions like Have you already tried suicide? Do you have a plan and know how you would commit suicide? What kind of access do they have to be able to carry out their plan?
  4. Help them connect. Help the person connect with ongoing support. This may mean immediate contact with emergency services; calling 988Lifeline or establishing a connection with other resources in the community or professional help.
  5. Follow up. Check on the person you have assisted. After the initial encounter be in touch in a appropriate manner. This follow-up can provide them with a sense of connectedness and support

For more, go to bethe1to.com.

By Penny Carlo, Mental Health and Wellness Ministry