To prevent suicide, counselors encourage people to start difficult discussions with troubled loved ones

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – By now, you’ve probably just ended a visit with your loved ones for the holidays. Perhaps one of your friends or family members, or even you, feel sad or hopeless. We want to save families from the heartbreak of suicide.

Counselors at Crisis Services of North Alabama are ready to provide a lifeline to anyone calling for help. They offer a 24-hour crisis line. You can call (256)716-1000 any time, any day.

“We have to ask them if they’ve ever felt like this before, because suicide is a permanent solution to what is most likely a temporary problem,” Crisis Counseling Program Manager Connie Kane said.

As a friend or family member, counselors encourage us to ask blunt questions to those thinking of harming themselves.

“It’s better to come out and directly say something,” Kane advised. “We don’t want to be judgmental when we ask people that, if a loved one says you’d be better off without me.”

After you ask the question, just listen for an answer. Kane said do not give up on a loved one if they don’t want to accept help right away.

“We have to give them time to come out, and we can’t be judgmental,” Kane reiterated. “We can’t give advice. We have to let people talk and we have to talk to them from our heart.”

If you’ve lost someone to suicide, Kane said sharing with others is helpful after heartbreak. That’s why Crisis Services offers classes twice a month on the first and third Monday. Anyone interested in these Grief After Suicide meetings should call (256)716-1000 for location and additional information.

“They can expect to meet with other people that have gone through a similar experience,” Kane explained. “People that may be just starting in that journey like them or people who are farther along.”

Here are some additional ways you can talk to someone you might be concerned about:

  1. Ask questions like, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” “Are things so bad that you might be thinking you don’t want to live?”
  2. If person responds ‘yes,’ ask how and when they plan to do it.
  3. If a person has the thoughts, a plan and the intention of carrying it out, call the local crisis line right away.