Sep 8, 2022 | Mental Health
I love to write. I always have. So, when I was asked to contribute to this blog on the topic of loved ones and suicide I said yes without hesitation.
But then I had to write.And I have found myself experiencing writer's block.Not for any reason other than I have mixed emotions about this topic given my professional role as a mental health social worker and a loved one with experience of having watched a family member struggle with their mental health and take the steps to end their life.My belly is anxious as I type.There is no cure-all to suicidal ideation and/or thoughts of self-harm.It’s an issue layered with bold colours and no right answer despite loved ones seeking something concrete to help explain what and why this is happening to their loved one.What I can say with certainty is it’s ok to talk about it; as a loved one concerned, as a person struggling with suicidal thoughts. It is ok to talk. It is ok to ask. It is ok to feel sad, frustrated, and angry. It is ok to cry.There is no blueprint for suicidal ideation but what I can offer is some suggestive signs that may indicate your loved one is struggling with their thoughts.
These signs include, but are not limited to:
This is not easy for anyone. Not for the individual struggling or the loved one, family member, friend or caregiver. It is painful, worrisome and encompasses a new definition for fear of the unknown.
Because of this fear, we have to talk. We have to ask questions. We have to invite conversation, despite how hard it may be to hear, to ensure we are helping our loved with kindness, understanding and compassion. We do this by asking. Talking. Being open to hearing what is shared. And getting the professional support to be the best support we can be.
We take care of ourselves once we have our loved one connected to the appropriate support. To all readers, I strongly recommend you take care of yourselves by reaching out to supports like those offered at the Community Crisis Centre housed at the Crisis and Mental Wellness Centre at 744 Ouellette Avenue. The Crisis Centre is operated by Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and services include 24-hour phone support (519-973-4435) and walk-in service 7 days/week from 8:00 am- 8:00 pm. You, as a loved one, can attend the Crisis Centre and speak with a highly skilled Crisis Worker about what is occurring with your loved one and how to help them and yourself through supportive and educational counseling.
As a human who has watched their loved one struggle with their mental health and who has witnessed the frightening consequences of a loved one attempting to end their life, I ask you to remember that no matter how difficult the conversation may seem; no matter how hard it is for you to find the words; ask. Tell your loved one you are worried. That you are anxious. That you are scared. It is ok to be honest. And counter those thoughts with, I love you. You matter to me. You are a light in my life.
Sometimes, we all need that reminder.
Ivanka Simeunovic holds a degree in Master of Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker employed at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare since 2005. Her current position is a Crisis Worker on Windsor C.O.A.S.T, a community partnership between Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Windsor Police Service.
To learn more about Mental Health and Addictions Programs and Service at HDGH including Windsor C.O.A.S.T visit https://www.hdgh.org/programsservices
General Info: (519) 257-5111
1453 Prince Rd.
Windsor, ON N9C 3Z4
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