It is always heartbreaking for us at Georgia Clean to enter a scene where someone has lost their life whether from an accident, suicide, or murder. When that scene involves someone committing suicide, we are left asking the same questions as everyone else: why? Though the springtime is when the suicide rate goes up the most, the holiday season with its emphasis on love and family can also be extremely difficult. People can feel alone and lost and, for some, the only way out they can see is by losing their life.
With all the heartbreak of friends and family grieving their loved ones that we see here in Georgia, we can’t stress enough how important it is to be available and open to friends, family, and coworkers who may need to talk. You may just save a life this holiday season by asking that question or by taking someone out for a cup of coffee and being there for them. If you see someone struggling, here are six things you can do:
1. Follow Your Instincts
If you notice someone is struggling and something inside you says to intervene and find out what is going on, listen to that instinct and ask. It is better to risk offending someone than knowing you should then finding it’s too late. Make that call today. Talk to them today. Find out what is going on.
Sometimes people just need to feel heard and seen. When we are struggling with our emotions, with physical pain, or financial struggles, we can feel alone and as if no one sees us. We may even hide away. Without hope or the comfort of another, we start to believe the world will be better without us. Sit down with them and listen closely with compassion and no judgment to whatever they need to say.
3. Ask What You Can Do To Help
When we are going through a difficult time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn for help or if anyone would even care. With the additional difficulty of taking the risk to ask, make the first move by asking how you can help if someone you know is struggling. If you see an obvious need, you can suggest you do that thing. Sometimes it just takes a bit of help to take the next step in life or to get out of bed the next morning. This help can take the form of buying groceries, babysitting, cleaning their house, weeding their yard, providing them a place to sleep, or simply taking them out for a night of fun and companionship.
4. Connect Them With Resources
Get to know the resources available for people who struggle in your community so you can point people in the right directions. There may be an organization helping pay utility bills, food banks that help feed the hungry, volunteers walking alongside immigrants, or resource centers to help people find jobs.
5. Help Them Find A Counselor
Not everyone can afford a counselor but if it is within reach or financial assistance is available, help the person find a good counselor they can talk to. Make sure, though, you don’t reach out to the counselor for them. They need to be the one to reach out and make that decision for themselves.
6. Reach Out For Help
If you think the person is a threat to themselves or another person, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for guidance or call your local police department for assistance.
Sometimes all it takes is one person to help turn things around for another person. If you think back to the difficult times in your own life, there was likely a friend, family member, or even a stranger who made a big difference during a difficult time—someone who helped you make it through. We can all be that person for someone else struggling through difficulties of their own. Your actions today may just save a life.