Dedicated to my dad and all my friends who have been there for me.
It is true that when it comes to depression and suicide one conversation can save a life, but it can be the hardest thing to do. It can be hard for the person suffering depression or contemplating suicide and it can also be hard and for the friends and family around them to have as well, sometimes it can even be harder.
Why is this?
In my opinion it comes down to 3 things. Fear that your friend or family member may in fact be suffering, Denial of the fact that they are even vulnerable to such a thing and lastly is that you to have either suffered in the past or are feeling similar emotions and don’t want to aggravate them.
So what can you do?
I wish this was easy to answer but it’s not. We all live in different environments so the options we have to find help are all very different. However I truly believe that every single person on this planet has one person. One person who without fear of judgement they can go to in their time of need and open up, someone whom they can openly share their struggles with. Sometimes it will be a simple matter of having them listen to you “vomit” your feelings onto them with no need for them to respond, sometimes you will need to cry in front of them, sometimes you will need feedback from them and they will always be honest, sometimes it will be silence… silence among friends and loved ones often says more than we ever can say out loud.
Now that I’ve given you my idea of who your person should be I hope someones name comes to mind maybe there’s more than one, in which case consider yourself blessed. But you only need one.
If you are someone who is suffering and have found it hard to open up, to ask for help, to admit you’re vulnerable then my challenge to you is to text or call the person that came to mind while reading this and tell them you wanna catch up. I speak from experience when I tell you that when you find the courage to admit everything is not ok, an unimaginable weight will lift off your shoulders and the path to getting better will become so much clearer. This won’t be the end of every struggle for you, it will just make it easier to find help from now on. You are still human and you will be challenged, but when you can be honest with yourself and you can be open and honest with those around you it will be easier.
Now if you are someone who knows or thinks you know someone who is struggling I know how hard this can be to. You are the one with an incredible power, but it takes great courage to use it. Your words of support for that person can save their life, if you are completely honest with them and trustworthy. I have had hundreds of conversation with friends and strangers who know someone who is struggling, but they don’t know how to help them. I know how scary it is to even consider that someone you love is suffering or may want to end their life, but when we a worried we need to act fast. You could be “that person” for them and inside they may be screaming out to speak to you, but they haven’t found the courage yet. But if you are prepared to offer support then the simplest way to do it is to ask “Are you ok?”. When you do this with sincerity and a caring heart I believe most of the time they will be honest with you. Sometimes they may shrug you off or tell you bluntly that they are fine and they are well within their rights to do so, in fact they may be fine but if they aren’t then they now know that you are there to talk to.
Sometimes though this simple question can be the beginning of that one conversation that will save a life…
I urge you to reach out for help if you need it and I urge you reach out and help someone if you think they need it.
If you know someone you would like to read this please share it.
For more information on how you can get help or how you can help someone please go to
Lifeline – www.lifeline.org.au – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back – 1300 659 467
In case of any emergency situation please contact emergency services and remember to take care of yourself at all times when trying to provide help.