‘It’s not the end, it’s the beginning of your journey’

When asked what it’s like to be a suicide prevention advisor, I often say it’s no different to any other role where you’re helping someone else.  The only difference is we’re helping people to explore their thoughts and feelings around suicide, building a picture of who an individual is and where they can go – never where they should go but can go.  We think to ourselves:

‘This person is reaching out and looking for support – time to guide’

Imagine the last time someone told you to do something, anything at all.  Let’s say you’re playing a video game, you’re at the final boss in a section of the game you’ve never been able to get to before.  Someone walks in and tells you to stop.  Could be parents, partner, friend, employer…  The first reaction will be no.  That’s because you don’t want to be told what to do – who does!  What if you were feeling suicidal?  Someone walks in and says just stop thinking like that and do something else.  Does that help?

When calling HOPELINE247, we begin by talking to you.  You’ve made that huge step to contact our service, you made that choice, you are in control.  We’re here to support you and guide you, not tell you what to do.  We talk about what’s happening for you, where you’ve been, anything and everything that could be relevant.  We talk about suicide.  We discuss with you how to keep yourself safe in this moment.  What comes afterwards though?  Once we know you’re safe, is that the end of the call? Definitely not.

‘What comes next…’

This is where guidance comes in.  What can you do, moving forward, to take control of your own situation?  We will talk with you about the things that can keep you safe right now – might be getting back to the video game we talked about before, may be listening to music, watch a movie, eat some food – heat that cup of tea that’s gone cold whilst we’ve been talking.

What about after that initial stage, when you’re sitting down saying ‘now what?’.  We’ll talk with you about where you want to go next, for example:

‘I want to get some counselling but don’t know how’

‘I want to be able to speak with my friends about how I’m feeling’

‘I want a new job and the way I’ve been feeling is stressing me out too much to even look’

‘I’m stressed about my exams, who should I tell?’

We’ll discuss these thoughts with you – having those wants means there’s a plan to be made and a continuation of your journey.  Sometimes, we need to be able to bounce ideas off someone without the worry that they’ll belittle or judge, rather, they’ll accept that this is who you are and where you want to be.  Hopefully by the end of the conversation you’ll have that plan.  Potentially feel like you know where your journey is taking you.  Where to continue getting the support you deserve.

That’s what HOPELINE247 is about.  A beginning, the first step and a journey, not an ending.

If you’re a young person aged 35 and under experiencing thoughts of suicide, HOPELINE247 is here for you. If you’re worried about a young person who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide, or you’re a professional who needs to debrief following an experience of suicide, get in touch with one of our suicide prevention advisors, seven days per week.

Call: 0800 068 4141

Text: 88247

Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

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