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9 Family Suicide Prevention Tips: Making the Hard Conversations A Little More Approachable

Sep 10, 2020, 11:20 AM

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SafeUT App - Suicide PreventionThis article about family suicide prevention tips is sponsored by the SafeUT App and University of Utah Health.


Suicide is never an easy topic to discuss. But since right now is National Suicide Prevention Month it’s a good time to have the hard conversations. Preventing suicide means your mental health and your family’s mental health really should be a fundamental part of your lives. Here are 9 family suicide prevention tips:

1. Identify Suicidal Warning Signs

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There can be a lot of warning signs of suicidal thoughts. Anything from self-loathing, to talking about suicide, to even a sudden sense of calm can all be indications someone is in trouble. Some of these signs can be harder to identify. Even a sense of hopelessness can be a strong indicator. If you feel like there are warning signs, you should speak up and let them know you are worried about them and that you care.  

2. Don’t Leave Them Alone

Family Suicide Prevention

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If your loved one seems to be in immediate danger of hurting themselves, it’s best to not leave them alone. Take steps to get them away from any means that they could use to hurt themselves, such as weapons or prescriptions. 

3. Keep Medications and Weapons Stored Safely

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If you suspect your loved one might be suicidal, it is extremely important to keep all weapons and medications locked up especially in a crisis. Store firearms in a locked safe or move all firearms elsewhere until the crisis has passed. Firearms are the most dangerous and accounted for 50.53% of suicide deaths in 2018.

4. Seek Professional Help Immediately

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Don’t wait to contact a doctor. Get in touch with your local mental health provider to get your loved one evaluated as soon as possible. If they are actively suicidal, contact their health crisis support team or take them to an emergency room. You should look at getting your loved one therapy or counseling as soon as possible even if the situation has not gotten to the point of actively attempting.

5. Don’t Assume Someone is Being Dramatic or Seeking Attention

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Any written or verbal statements that speak negatively about life should be addressed immediately. Some of these statements can also be quite shocking to hear for the first time, but they do need to be taken seriously. And any statements like these need to be answered with encouragement and compassion. Anger, extreme sadness, or knee-jerk reactions are not appropriate here.

6. Be a Listener

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This goes hand in hand with speaking up. You should be just as willing to listen to them if they want to talk. They also might not want to talk. But being available to your loved one when they are in a time of need is crucial. Start by gently trying to open up your communication more, and again be as supportive as possible. Positive reinforcement is so important for someone who has lost hope and has found themselves with suicidal thoughts. 

7. Don’t Expect Overnight Results

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There is no quick fix for depression and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes behavioral changes. It can even take medications to help balance emotions. But everything will eventually begin to be better for your loved one if they can get past this rough patch. 

8. Search for an Outlet for Emotions

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Many people who suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts can benefit from finding a way to creatively manage their emotions. Artistic hobbies like writing, painting, playing music have been shown to help with some of the more intense symptoms of depression. They could also try simple exercise too. anything from taking a walk to joining a gym can be helpful. All of these options can help someone struggling have a way to release the negative emotions they have been holding on to.

9. Install the SafeUT App

Any Utah student experiencing crisis, bullying, threats, or who are aware of a threat can communicate directly with lifelines available on the SafeUT App totally free. The app keeps the user’s dada anonymous, confidential, and it’s even password protected. The SafeUT app provides real-time, two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors who are available 24/7. It’s available on Android and iOS, is available in multiple languages, and you can even submit photos and videos as tips.

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9 Family Suicide Prevention Tips: Making the Hard Conversations A Little More Approachable