For the loved one, do not judge or try to motivate with things like, 'you'll get over it…' Clinical depression is serious and can be deadly. The best thing you can do is to listen, validate their experience, and empathize with their feelings. Encourage the growth of a support network to help (family, other friends) and assist the person in getting professional help if needed." Dumped? 10 Healthy Ways To Heal
In addition to Lisa's great advice, I offer these signs of high-risk depressive behavior:
- The grieving person has very little support in place, is isolated and refusing help from anyone.
- There is significant disruption in functioning and things like bathing, grooming, eating, sleeping are not happening.
- If the person feels bad for an extended period of time (more than two weeks) without any decrease or pause in symptoms.
- Any conversations about suicide that include a plan, method or thought-out strategy. If someone is showing that they have the method or means, it's time to act.
Mental health experts believe men are at heightened risk for suicidal depression than women. Men generally have fewer channels for talking and sharing feelings—helpful tools during hard times—than women do. Where a woman may feel comfortable hashing out a breakup with everyone from her hairstylist to her grandmother, men don't always have that same ease. Men are also geared towards quick thinking and taking action, so lethal terms and their plans can go from thought to action very quickly.
That said, our best advice is that whenever you witness a person talking about suicide, take it seriously. Ask questions about what they are thinking and do not be afraid to seek a professional's help. You're not alone. ProConnect offers direct contact with mental health experts who can explore your depression or concerns for a loved one. You can also take these same concerns, your own or your loved ones, to services like the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-2433 (it’s free) or call 911 for help.
When someone as young and vibrant as Tom Nicon commits suicide it's a wakeup call to pay attention to our friends and loved ones. Remember that you're not alone and that there's no harm in asking for help, for yourself and for those you love who are in need. Originally published on The Huffington Post.