How to #TalkAboutIt

Each September, counseling centers and mental health organizations across the country work together to raise awareness on an increasingly important issue: suicide prevention. Suicide can affect anyone, no matter their race, age, gender identity, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. So, why don’t we talk about it? For some, talking about suicide is taboo and shouldn’t be brought up in conversation. Others may refrain from mentioning suicide due to the fear of increasing someone’s suicidality. However, this is a myth!

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM), asking an at-risk individual if they’re suicidal does not increase suicidal thoughts. In fact, it is one of the first preventative steps to take. Simply talking about suicide allows a chance to sort through destructive thoughts and identify resources that can help.

This year, Counseling and Psychological Services wants the Mason community to help fight the stigma surrounding suicide prevention and #TalkAboutIt with a trusted friend. Check out these NIMH recommendations on what to do (and not do) when having a conversation about suicide.

The Dos:

  1. Be patient and calm

When someone mentions having thoughts of suicide, it is important to take their statements seriously.  Expressing these thoughts and feelings can be challenging for that person, so it is important to remain calm and create an atmosphere that is open and nonjudgmental.

  1. Ask Direct Questions

Remember: asking these types of questions do not make at-risk individuals more suicidal. “Are you thinking about suicide?” sounds like a rude question to ask, but for people having suicidal thoughts, this type of question presents an opportunity to express what is troubling them.

  1. Express Support

Let them know they aren’t alone in feeling the way they do. Many people have suicidal thoughts, which means there are many amazing (and free) resources that can help. Share information with them, such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK) or the Crisis Text Line (Text Hello to 741741).

  1. Help Connect

Now that they have shared their suicidal thoughts with you, it is crucial that you help them connect with a resource that is appropriate for them. If they are a Mason student, direct them to CAPS. If you are concerned that they are in imminent danger of harming themselves, call the Mason Police Department at (703) 993-2810, 911, or a crisis hotline.

  1. Stay in Touch

After the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, it is necessary to remember that seeking mental health treatment can be a prolonged journey. Checking up on them to see how they’re doing helps ensure that they will stay on their recovery track.

The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t debate if suicide is right or wrong

Delegitimizing their thoughts and feelings isn’t going to help alleviate the situation. Instead of debating over the morality of suicide, aim to find out what led them to contemplate this decision.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have a plan

Knowing if they have a plan or not will allow you to better gauge their situation and safety. If you believe they are in immediate danger to their self, seek help by calling 911, Mason Police Department at (703)-993-2810, or a crisis hotline.

  1. Don’t argue, threaten, or raise voice

It is easy to get upset when someone you care for has suicidal thoughts, but by raising your voice, threatening them, or causing an argument, you will not be helping them seek treatment. Instead, remain calm, allow them to talk, and then work to identify a helpful resource.

  1. Don’t forget to mention CAPS

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, know that there is help available. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a free, supportive service for Mason students, and we are here for you! We offer a variety of mental health services, such as drop in consultations, daily workshops, group therapy, and individual therapy sessions. If you ever have a question, please reach out to us at (703) 993-2380.

 

 

In Crisis?

Emergency Contacts

Online Crisis Chat

Crisis Text Line

    Text 741-741

CrisisLink

    703-527-4077

National Suicide

    Prevention Lifeline
    800-273-8255

Veterans Crisis Line

    800-273-8255, Press 1

Mason Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Crisis Line

    703-380-1434

TrevorLifeline

    866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline

    877-565-8860

Non-Emergency Contacts

Counseling and Psychological Services

    703-993-2380

Student Support and Advocacy Center

    703-993-3686

Mason Police

    703-993-2810