“One happy day for every falling leaf you catch.” ~ Maggie Stiefvater
Today I have made three important lists. My lists got much longer than I anticipated. They just kept growing and growing… as I went on…
Two of my lists are about what you should say and not say to suicide attempt survivors and people who are having suicidal thoughts. My third list is what you should do for suicide attempt survivors, people who are having suicidal thoughts, who self-harm, have mental illness and for people who are in the psychiatric hospital.
I believe many parts of all of my lists can apply to people who engage in self-injurious behaviors and who have mental illness in general.
Also, I have included two excellent articles written by two suicide attempt survivors and their own personal experiences after surviving their suicide attempts.
My three lists are written mostly from my own personal experiences and also from what I have learned from other suicide attempt survivors…
What not to say to someone who is a suicide attempt survivor or is experiencing suicidal thoughts:
- That is stupid or that was stupid.
- What is wrong with you?
- Why would you do that to yourself?
- Why do you want to die?
- You really do not want to die.
- I can’t believe you would do that.
- Your life’s not that bad.
- You can’t leave me.
- You would hurt so many people.
- You cannot leave your children.
- They would not have a mom.
- How could you do that to your children?
- How could you do that to your mom?
- How could you do that to me?
- How could you do that to… (any name would apply here – even your animals?)
- You are selfish.
- Suicide is selfish.
- You are only thinking about yourself.
- Suicide is the easy way out.
- Suicide is cowardly.
- You need to just face your problems.
- Don’t think about what is bothering you. It will go away. It will get better.
- Just don’t think about things.
- That is all in the past.
- Just let the past go. Stop thinking about those things.
- Just don’t think about it.
- You have so much to live for.
- Things could be worse.
- Other people have worse problems than you.
- I understand (this is a nice gesture, but there is no way someone can truly understand what you alone are going through exactly, as they are not living your life and have not lived your life).
- That is in the past.
- Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
- You don’t go to heaven if you kill yourself.
- You will go to hell if you die by suicide.
- You are just trying to get attention.
What to say to someone who is a suicide attempt survivor or is experiencing suicidal thoughts:
- I love you.
- You matter.
- You are needed.
- You are important.
- I believe in you.
- You are such a good person.
- You do so many good things.
- I am sorry your pain is so severe.
- I am sorry you have to go through this.
- I am sorry your life is so difficult.
- I am sorry you have… (whatever mental illness or struggles or obstacle they are facing at the time).
- I am here for you.
- What can I do for you?
- What can I do to help you?
- What would help you, do you think?
- However you feel at this point is okay.
- Take as much time as you need to get better.
- It is not your fault.
- I am sorry.
- Take care of yourself.
- Call me whenever you need to.
- Come over whenever you need to or want to.
- I am here for you.
- It is okay.
- You are not alone.
- Would you like to… (fill in the blank)?
- You are beautiful.
- You are so talented.
- You are very gifted.
- The world needs people like you
- You are needed. You are needed because…
- You matter. You matter because…
- You matter. You matter. You matter….
- I care so much about you. I care. I care. I care…
- I love you so much.
- I love you so much because…
- love you more than I can express.
- I love you.
- I love you.
- I love you…
What to do for someone who is a suicide attempt survivor, had or is having suicidal thoughts, engaged in self-harm, has a mental illness or is in the Psychiatric hospital.
- Sometimes you do not need to say anything at all… beautiful and loving non-verbal communication speaks very loudly.
- Just hug them tightly. Don’t let them go… Hug, hug and hug that person some more and then some more… just hug them and love them.
- Let them know you care by staying with them… even if they tell you to leave. Don’t.
- Don’t ever leave them. Maybe give them a tiny bit of space.
- Do not smother them, but do not leave them. That signifies that someone actually cares enough about them and me…
- Just be there with them.
- Be there for them.
- Just listen. Listen to everything they have to say.
- Do not argue with them at the time.
- Do not talk about yourself and what this is doing to you…
- Just listen with a beautiful open and caring heart. This time is for them. This time is about them…
- and love them. Let them know how much you love them and why you love them!
- Do anything and more… that you and everyone else does for someone else that is in the hospital for other medical or health reasons.
- Make them a casserole.
- Buy them some flowers.
- Help out with their children, if they have any.
- Help out around the house, if they need help with housework and things like that.
- Give them cards with all kinds of mushy words written inside.
- Fill a piece of paper with heart-felt words of love and expression.
- Make them a poster.
- Do anything you can think of for them.
- Do anything that shows them you went out of your way… just for them…
- Do anything that shows them you care.
- Do anything that shows them you love them beyond measure…
- Just be there for them and love them.
Many times actions are more important and louder than words.
Let them know they MATTER!!!!!!!
Mental illness and Suicide Deserve Equal Rights
Next time you try to condemn me or others for what we’ve tried to do, or have done, think about condemning your relative or someone you know for dying from a physical illness such as cancer. Pretty insensitive and illogical, huh? Please respect what I and many others have been through and open the door to separate shame, misconceptions and ignorance from suicide.
Suicide is a legitimate cause of death and needs to be treated the same as any other causes of death. Death is death, a sad occasion all around. However, those who die by their own hands deserve the same respect and dignity as those who die in any other way.
Suicide. Suicide. Suicide. Suicide. Suicide.
The more we say it, the less uncomfortable it becomes.
All of this information is so accurate and truthful. Having a friend and people that support you is very critical and essential in anyone’s recovery after a suicide attempt, after any loss, someone with any mental illness or any life struggles one might be facing during their lives.
Be that one very important person that makes a difference in someone’s life.
Be that one person that cares. Show them.
Be that person that makes a difference in someone else’s life.
Be someone’s hero… always remember to be your own hero, as well.
Save a life or two or three or more…
Prevent suicides. We can all do it. We can all help and… we all MATTER!
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
I am a numerous suicide attempt survivor. Praise God, I am still alive today.
I am a Mental illness advocate and it is my passion to educate about mental illness, increase awareness about mental illness, reduce the stigma of mental illness and the stigma associated with suicide and I want to and must reduce the alarmingly increasing rate of suicides around the world today.
I continue to make a daily post about suicide everyday throughout the month of September for Suicide Prevention month. This is post #22 and if you have missed my previous ones, please check them out on my blog. Also, continue looking on my blog for more daily posts about suicide for the rest of September.
We must always remember the many beautiful and precious suicide attempt survivors and the many people who have suicidal thoughts. We must pray for all of them and everyone with mental illness every day.
Tell people often that they matter and they make a positive impact in the lives of many people and to the world we live in. We all need to hear those words. I know I do. They are important.
We all need to do our part and do MORE. The first steps are accepting and understanding others with kindness, compassion and love. We all need to educate and learn more about mental illness and suicide and suicide prevention. Start the dialog and be a voice.
We must all make our voices heard very loud and strong about mental illness, mental illness stigma and suicide prevention. It is critical. It is crucial. Each life is priceless. We must prevent suicides and save lives.
Please know you are loved and you all matter and you make a positive difference in this world every day.
God bless you all always and forever…
Love and hugs, Sue
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