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If You're Reaching Out to a Friend for Mental Health Help, Please Be More Specific

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I know what it feels like to be afraid of being alone when I am suicidal. To be scared of what you could do to yourself if you are left alone for even an hour, let alone an entire day, is a frightening reality for many of us who struggle with suicidal thoughts. I also know how it feels to “reach out” to a friend only to be told they are busy.

In the moment, I feel rejected — like I don’t matter to them or that my life does not matter to them.

However, something I have recently discovered is that when I “reach out” for help often times I am not specifically reaching out for help.

It usually goes something like this:

Me: “Hey, what are you doing today?”

Friend: “Oh, I’m busy with (insert task/project/plans here). What’s up?”

Me: “Oh, nothing really. Just thought I’d see if you want to hang out.”

Sound familiar? At the time I think I’m saying enough for them to understand, but clearly I’m not. If you have similar conversations with friends or loved ones when you feel the urge to hurt yourself, I urge you to hear this.

Please, please, please try being specific. If you are worried or afraid you may attempt suicide or harm yourself in any way please call a hotline, 9-1-1, or to a trusted friend or family member, and be specific. Tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them what kind of thoughts you’re having. Let them know you don’t feel safe to be alone and that you need someone to sit with you or go for a walk or anything that will help take your mind off those destructive thoughts. For me, it is so important to relay those thoughts and feelings specifically when reaching out to someone for help. Otherwise they may not understand what I’m needing, and they couldn’t understand because I am not being specific.

Please, I urge you to reach out for help whenever you need it.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by milicad

Originally published: March 7, 2017
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