Make sure you look after yourself too.
On HOPELINEUK we hear from a lot of people who are concerned about someone else. An important part of these calls is making sure the caller is looking after themselves as well as the person they are concerned about. At this stage a lot of callers find it difficult to even think about looking after themselves, but it is crucial that they do – not just for themselves but also for the person they are looking after.
Looking after someone can be like re-charging their battery. If the only way you are doing this is by charging them using your own battery – then sooner or later yours will go flat and you will no longer be able to help. Unless of course you re-charge yourself at times too.
Ideally when supporting someone with thoughts of suicide you would be empowering them to be able to keep themselves safe and to start feeling better. One way of doing this can be by role modelling that behaviour, showing them the importance of looking after yourself – not just telling them about it.
Supporting someone with suicidal thoughts is not something that just one person should be doing. So, part of looking after yourself is making sure this person has a support network to help them. This can include professionals and organisations as well as friends and family. Involving them in the process of finding the best support for them is important, allowing them to feel that there are other people that can help them too.
As with anyone who needs to look after themselves more it is important to take time for yourself, time to do whatever it is you enjoy, whether that involves being around people or being by yourself. That is the equivalent of re-charging your battery. Whilst you are helping them build their support network, make sure that you have one of your own.
The callers we speak to who have the most chance of helping the person they are concerned about are those who take time for themselves and talk to their own support network about how they are feeling.
Here’s a summary of our advice on how to look after yourself when concerned about someone else:
- Still take time for yourself, doing things that you enjoy.
- Help the person build a support network – so they are not only getting support from you.
- Build and use your own support network.
- Talk to people about how you are feeling
Finally, don’t forget that HOPELINEUK is available for those concerned about a young person who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide. You can call HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 41 41. The helpline is open 9am-10pm weekdays and 2pm-10pm weekends and bank holidays.
Alternatively, you can text and email HOPELINEUK via:
Text: 07860 039967 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org