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The Most Important Question I Asked My Friend Who Was Struggling

The most helpful emails in health
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An acquaintance of mine recently stopped by, coincidentally on Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. I met her last year, and as we spent more time together, I saw a change in her that concerned me. I asked her if she was thinking about suicide, and she said, “Yes.” I immediately connected her to professional resources, and she thankfully received the help she needed.

When I saw her on Tuesday, she gave me the most heartfelt hug and told me she came by because she specifically wanted me to see how well she was doing. She said she spent five months in counseling and worked with a doctor to find the right medication to help her. She was bouncy, enthusiastic and thankful.

She told me I saved her life.

She told me I was the one person who saw a change in her affect and asked her if she was thinking about suicide.

The reason I knew how and what to ask her is because after my son Tom died by suicide, I learned the signs of depression and suicidal ideation and how to approach someone about whom I am concerned. My mission was twofold. I wanted to be able to help people I care about and to teach others to do the same. Had I not received this training and had the confidence to ask this question, things might have worked out very differently.

I messaged her that night and asked her if I could share her story. Her written response was, “I wouldn’t mind at all. My situation definitely serves as a good example!”

I am sharing this story with you to tangibly illustrate suicide prevention education works. She is someone’s daughter, sibling, aunt, neighbor, coworker and friend. There were many people she saw on a daily basis, but none of them asked her this question.

One person who knows to ask this question can make a difference. By taking the time to learn this information, you can be prepared to assist someone. You too, can help someone struggling and maybe even save a life.

Getty image by rilueda

Originally published: September 12, 2019
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