When someone is struggling with their mental health, such as depression, anxiety, and or suicidal thoughts, they can feel very alone. If you have never had thoughts of suicide or dealt with depression and anxiety it might be hard to imagine what they are going through and challenging to know what to do.

We live in a world where we are told that we have to have it all figured out. For a person struggling, these ideals only add shame to the already complicated emotions and confusing thoughts they are experiencing. Feelings of shame can push them further into silence creating a barrier to reaching out for needed help.

One person being there and showing they care can really make a difference. Sometimes we know something might be wrong with someone but our own fears and uncomfortableness of knowing what to say and do can get in the way. By putting our own fears aside and asking, we are letting them know they can safely share their current reality. Sharing brings relief for the person knowing they aren’t in it all alone.

Here is something I created from the perspective of the person suffering from thoughts of suicide or just struggling in general. I hope this gives you an idea of how you can be supportive; simply ask, listen, do, and how meaningful it can be for the person struggling.

ASK
  • When you ask me, I feel seen
  • If you sense something is wrong with me, there probably is
  • When you’re afraid to talk to me, you’re telling me what I’m feeling is too scary for you to hear
  • I am probably going to say, “I’m okay” but please push past that and just ask me, “what’s going on?”
  • Ask me, if I’ve thought about ending my life
  • Ask me, if I’m having thoughts of suicide
  • You won’t be putting the thought in my head
  • Be fearless to ask me
LISTEN
  • When you listen to me, I feel less alone
  • It helps when you let me share how I am feeling with you
  • When you don’t try to solve it, I feel better
  • When you can listen without judgment; I know you really hear me
  • Be fearless to listen to me
DO
  • When you take action, I know you care
  • You may not need to do anything, but ask and listen to me
  • Reassure me I’m not burden
  • Look out for me and don’t be surprised if I struggle again in the future
  • You may need to call a professional or the suicide hotline with me to get help
  • I know you can be that person for me