Hi, friends. I wanted to take the time to reach out to all of you and let you know you are loved. I heard about the recent death of fashion designer Kate Spade and it hurt my heart. I am always very saddened to hear of anyone who has died by suicide. It is a stark reminder that we do not know a person’s pain or their struggles.
I speak from personal experience when I say I understand the pain of living with depression and also having a loved one go through depression. Not only have I had times when I struggled with my anxiety disorder and depression, but one of my teens also has anxiety. A few years ago, he was hospitalized for depression and it was a very hard time for us as a family. My heart hurt for my child knowing he was hurting. To this day, it is something he still struggles with and every day he does his very best to stay strong. I am very proud of the great progress my son has made and I am always doing my best to stay strong for him and be by his side.
I write all of this not to share my son’s personal business, but to let you know there is someone who cares. It is never easy for me to put into words exactly how I feel about it, but I wanted you to know I do understand. I care and I pray for God’s love and peace for anyone who is hurting.
If you or someone you know is hurting, please know there is hope. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
I am sharing these tips from Metanoia.org.
Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.
Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, vent anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign.
Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.
Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.
Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.
Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Look on the bright side.”
Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.
Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word.
Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.
Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.
You can also get more information about suicide prevention from the following:
My condolences go out to Kate Spade’s family, loved ones, and all of those who are grieving. My love and prayers are with you. And to those who are hurting, please know you do not have to go through this alone. There is hope. There is love. There is peace.
All my love,
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: