As a relative or friend you are well placed to notice whether someone close to you is struggling to cope, or even feeling suicidal.
There are some things to look out for which may be a sign that someone may need help.
- Unexpected mood changes – including suddenly being calm and happy after being very depressed
- Social withdrawal
- Change in sleeping and eating patterns
- Lack of energy
- Neglect of personal appearance
- Reckless behaviour
- Increased drug or alcohol abuse
- Anger or irritability
- Talking about suicide or wanting to die– their statements may be vague or appear to be joking about it
- Giving away possessions
- Saying goodbye – to friends and family as if they won’t be seeing them again.
Sometimes there are no warning signs because the person wants to keep how they feel private, and so will work hard at hiding their thoughts and feelings.
What should I do?
If you are concerned about someone else's mental health, you could try asking them how they are. Sometimes just talking to someone who is willing to listen can be very helpful and make people feel less alone with their problems. Showing your support and giving someone space to communicate their feelings can be a huge release for them. By asking someone how they are feeling, you are showing them that it is OK to talk and that you are available to listen.
If you are asking someone how they are, it can be useful to have information on support available which you can look though together. You can find information HERE.
You can try to help them by encouraging them to get help from their GP. If they don’t want to see their GP, you can ask for help yourself. Contact the GP or local mental health services.
Sometimes, when things are difficult, people may experience thoughts of suicide. This can be quite common when someone is feeling low or depressed. It can be useful to ask directly if you are concerned that someone is considering suicide. You won’t put thoughts in someone’s head by asking the question. It can help people to talk, and start to consider alternatives to suicide. See our 'Supporting someone feeling suicidal' page for more advice.