Not a new trend
Suicide and suicidal thoughts are not a new trend for those who struggle with addiction-- all of these issues are rooted in mental health and usually related to (or end up causing) some kind of personal struggle. However, loved ones like you might be newly aware that this problem exists and be searching for a way to help. Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do if you have a family member who is struggling with addiction and also at risk of suicidal behaviors or thoughts.
Here are the top tips from industry professionals and those who have personal experience alike:
- Talk about it. They might not want to at first, but sometimes even bringing it up lets them know they have more support than they may have thought initially. A lot of people think that bringing it up will cause more problems, but that’s not the case.
- Make sure that you have support from as much of the rest of the family as possible. You can even offer to set up a network of people who can help with appointments, daily living tasks, and other needs.
- Create and keep a copy of a safety plan that details what to do in the event of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If they already have one, ask if they’re willing to share it so that you can help them.
- Keep all crisis hotline numbers handy, as well as the newer options for texting, online chat, and other resources. There are several available and with so many methods of contact available, there should be something for everyone.
- Keep alcohol, drugs, guns, and other weapons out of the home, or at the very least out of access from the person of concern.
If you think that someone is a risk to themselves, you can call law enforcement or obtain a Form 2 from a local justice of the peace. This form will allow the police to mandate that your family member be seen for a psychological evaluation, which could end up in a longer-term hospitalization or recovery center admission to get the help that they need.
Don't ever be afraid to stand up
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to stand up and speak out. Your loved one’s life is on the line here and you have to help in any way that you can. By giving them support and knowing what steps to take, it will be easier to help them through the struggles that come with addiction and depression.