Breakthrough: It’s Time to Talk About Suicide

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Breakthrough: It’s Time to Talk About Suicide
Over the past few years the nation has gotten more comfortable discussing mental health. But for some, the topic of suicide can still be difficult.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very real, clear and frightening and constant thought,” Megan Markle revealed during a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

Over the past few years the nation has gotten more comfortable discussing mental health. 

But for some, the topic of suicide can still be difficult to navigate, especially in our personal lives. 

"I think sometimes we don't want to acknowledge when people express not wanting to live or want to hurt themselves or die. You do want to take that serious, make sure that you check on them and monitor their safety. If there are medications around the home, if there are weapons in the home make sure those are locked away," said Erlanger Turner an assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and author of "Mental Health Among African Americans: Innovations in Research and Practice." 

"One of the myths that people often fall into accidentally when thinking about suicide is they're worried that if they bring that up, they're actually putting that in someone's mind. The research actually shows us that's the complete opposite. You're not making some more susceptible by bringing that up. If anything, you're giving them space to know that you are noticing and caring about it. And that can actually be effective to get people help," said Nii Addy, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and host of the mental health podcast, Addy Hour. 

Experts say when approaching a loved one, leave judgment at the door. 

 "Oftentimes when people bring up thoughts about suicide, the response from family or friends is, ‘why are you suicidal?’ Like, your life is so great. That person is making their own interpretation about their life and what's going on in the situations that they may be struggling with. And so I think you want to just sort of offer their support for them," added Turner. 

One way to offer that support is by seeking professional help. You can start by calling the national suicide hotline 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 1-800-273-TALK.  Amber Strong, Newsy, Washington.