The tragic loss of a loved one to suicide often leaves survivors with the feeling that they should have done more, listened more closely, and been there more often. Owl & Thistle is helping people understand what to watch for and what to do about it.
Reaching Out for More Proactive Suicide Prevention
Crystal Partney is the founder of both Scattering Hope and Owl & Thistle. Scattering Hope provides families with resources for healing following the loss of a loved one to suicide. Owl & Thistle is focused on suicide prevention and encouraging people to reach out to those who may be struggling.
Partney founded both companies following the tragic loss of her late sister Gina. Going through this loss and grief led her to take positive action, hoping to not only guide those who must go through the same tragedy of suicide but also to encourage the friends and family of those suffering from depression to reach out before it’s too late.
Watching for Warning Signs in Your Loved Ones
Owl & Thistle provides those concerned for their loved ones with resources for identifying the warning signs of suicide. It can often be difficult to see when someone is struggling, but many individuals will show these signs that might allow action to be taken before it’s too late.
Extreme mood swings are one such sign, where someone might seem fine one moment and suddenly swerve into intense anger or sadness. These changes could happen over the course of a single day or represent frequent changes in overall mood and disposition.
Hopelessness is a common feeling among those who are struggling. If you notice that your loved ones have developed an excessively negative outlook for the future, this could be a sign of depression.
Isolation and withdrawal from social life can be the result of someone’s depression. This can be difficult to judge and should be gauged against their past social involvement. These individuals can often have disparate sleep schedules as well, having either excessive or too little sleep.
In order to cope with their depression, some turn to alcohol or other drugs. Suddenly starting or intensifying use is a significant warning sign. You might also notice your loved one becoming more anxious, quick to anger, or otherwise agitated.
One of the most significant signs that is overlooked far too often is the person expressing their intention to commit suicide or that they are having suicidal thoughts. In this situation, there is an immediate need to take action.
Extending Help to Those in Need
If you believe that someone you know is at immediate risk of suicide, you should call a suicide prevention lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for advice on taking immediate action. When you call the lifeline, you will be connected to a trained interventionist. When you believe that someone is showing signs of depression, one of the best things you can do is reach out to let them know that you’re there for them.
Discussing such a sensitive matter isn’t something to be sprung on people. Any conversation should be planned in advance, setting aside plenty of time. A great guideline for what to ask comes from Jackie Simmons at the Teen Suicide Prevention Society. These simple questions guide the conversation in a positive direction, helping to foster hope.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
If you’re concerned about a friend or someone in your family, you can find out more about the signs to watch for and how to deal with this delicate situation at Owl & Thistle.