7 Things You Can Do If Your Loved One Is Experiencing Suicidal Ideation

Mar 02, 2024
7 Things You Can Do If Your Loved One Is Experiencing Suicidal Ideation
If you have a loved one who’s struggling with thoughts of suicide, it can be challenging to know what you can do to help them feel better. In this post, learn seven simple but profound ways you can provide critical support.

Every year, millions of Americans struggle with suicidal ideation and persistent or recurrent thoughts of ending their lives. If your loved one is among them, you may be wondering how you can help.

At Revival Infusion Madison in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP, helps patients overcome suicidal ideation with ketamine infusion therapy, a cutting-edge therapy shown to be very effective in patients with thoughts of suicide. If you have a loved one struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, here are seven ways you can help.

1. Be a good listener

One of the most important things you can do is also one of the simplest: Be a good listener. A good listener is someone who truly listens and pays attention to what their loved one is saying without interruption or judgment.

Avoid criticisms, don’t be impatient, and stay away from suggesting solutions. Let your loved one express what they’re feeling, paying attention to their emotions while demonstrating unconditional caring and support. Validate their emotions, even if you think they’re “overreacting.”

2. Let them know you care

Many people turn to thoughts of suicide because they feel lonely and isolated. The simple act of listening is a clear demonstration that you care for your loved one, but it’s also important to let them know that you’ll be consistently available to provide them with emotional support.

Stay in touch at least once a day, but don’t smother them or hover over them —behaviors that could drive your loved one deeper into introspection. Be casual and reassure them simply by letting them know you’re there for them and ready to listen.

3. Help them find support and treatment

Suicidal ideation isn’t uncommon, and resources are available that can help your loved one overcome their feelings of hopelessness or self-loathing that often drive suicidal thoughts and behaviors. But for someone struggling with thought of suicide or depression, seeking help feels pointless, especially if they’re tried treatment in the past and found it ineffective.

You can take some of the burden off your loved one by offering to accompany them to treatment or researching treatment options, like ketamine therapy with our team. Ketamine can be especially helpful for people with treatment-resistant mental health issues, including those who’ve tried medication and other therapies with poor results.

4. Ask what you can do

For people with depression, anxiety, and similar issues, even the simplest tasks can feel overwhelming. In addition to being available to listen, let your loved one know you’re ready to help in other ways.

Bringing over a meal is a simple way to show support while taking away one simple daily burden. Running errands, organizing a closet, or performing simple cleaning tasks can help too, as long as your loved one is OK with it.

5. Engage in positive activities together

Many people with suicidal ideation are mired in negative thought patterns and behaviors. Therapy can help break that cycle, but you can help too, by providing healthy distractions.

Watching an upbeat movie together, taking a walk, or going out for coffee are all simple ways to engage with your loved one while helping them develop a more positive outlook. Sharing activities supports connectedness that can help your loved one see themselves as an important part of your life, too.

6. Work on an action plan

Suicidal ideation can make it difficult to think about the future, and that means it’s hard to visualize recovery or develop a plan of action. The problem: Without any sense of direction, it’s easy for your loved one to lose hope or remain mired in feelings of loss and hopelessness.

Ask your loved one to work with you to develop a recovery plan focused on helping them achieve a sense of purpose, structure, and belonging. That could mean identifying coping strategies, setting a regular sleep schedule, following a healthy eating plan, and incorporating at least one enjoyable activity each day.

7. Stay educated

Unless you suffer from similar issues, your loved one’s struggles may seem unfamiliar, frustrating, and even annoying from time to time. Learning all you can about depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and similar issues is a good way to develop understanding and compassion that can help your loved one get the treatment they need to feel better.

There are plenty of reputable sources of information online regarding these underlying disorders and ways to help manage them. Joining a support group — in person or online — can help, too.

Ketamine therapy is an innovative treatment option for people struggling with suicidal ideation. To learn more about ketamine and how it could help your loved one, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, today.