When supporting others remember ALAN!
Ask – ask someone how they are feeling (and making sure you have time to listen). Asking someone outright if they are feeling suicidal will not make them more suicidal – it’s better to openly ask and not avoid the issue.
Listen – when someone is telling you about their feelings and thoughts of suicide it is important to offer an understanding ear without patronising, over analysing, or criticising. It might be a huge thing for someone to share these thoughts with you – try not to lecture them on the importance or value of life, try to empathise with their feelings.
Action – Help your friend to make an action plan with simple goals if this feels right. This could be how to help with their mental health e.g. going on a walk or perhaps you could make a phone call to their GP for them if they need more help. Let them know of services that are there to help them. Our Changes Bristol website has a list of organisations in the “Additional Information” page. Arrange your next meet up with them and let them know they are not alone. It is important that you stick to your commitments with them.
Network – Remind them of their existing networks of support e.g. from their friends or family. Make sure they know they are appreciated and that they matter. Finally, make sure that you have a network of support of your own. Supporting others can deplete your own resilience, so make sure you know who you can lean on.