Noticing the signs and what to do when someone is in need
Last week the entire pole community was shook by the news of a very beloved lady loosing her life at an incredibly young age. Our news feeds were full with memories, videos and photos of the firey redhead princess we all loved and admired.
Just how much these posts took over our feeds reminded me of how connected and close-knit the pole and aerial community is and with that comes a huge advantage to be able to hopefully spot someone who may be struggling and provide collective support where needed.
Many people were also commenting about, and I’m sure many more were thinking it behind the screens, feelings of guilt about whether they could have done more.
Firstly, it is normal to wonder whether you could have done more, we are all human and it shows just how compassionate you are. But what we need to do now is focus on what we could do in the future if we spot someone in need.
So I’ve pulled together some tools and resources which you will be able to come back to and access from this blog at all times.
I’ve seen this piece of advice shared a few times which includes useful and coherent information which I think is great to lead with:
- If someone has been very low and you notice a sudden lift in mood, this is often a warning sign. Many people who decide to die by suicide are relieved by their decision, and seem happier.
- Ask them flat out if they are suicidal. It won’t give someone who isn’t thinking about it ideas! But for someone who is thinking about it, it forces them to confront those feelings.
- If they tell you they are, ask them what their plan is. Ask them when they think they’re going to do it, and if they have everything they need. These questions help you assess how immediate the danger they’re in is.
- Try not to get emotional, to disagree with them, or to give them advice. Your help is to listen without judgement, and to get them emergency assistance. You’re there to be a shoulder to cry on.
- Don’t be afraid to ring 999, or make sure professional help is notified.
If you want to read more, check out this link:
The below was shared by a good friend of mine, Anna Frost, which I also wanted to include as it highlights when sometimes you think you may be doing something that is useful but maybe there could be something better you could do differently.
‘Things people say about mental health that sound great but aren’t’: HELPING YOUR FRIENDS
1. “If you ever need to talk my inbox is open”/”if you’re in a dark place please reach out”/”I’m always here if you need me” etc.
When I’m sad I cannot shower. I can’t feed myself. I can’t watch TV. I cannot have a conversation. I sometimes struggle to talk about my feelings when I’m in a great mood, let alone when I’m not. And when I’m in a really bad place, I can’t even feel sad. I just feel nothing. I do nothing but exist as a little empty hole. I can’t tell you how I feel because there is nothing there! The only time I ever felt capable of reaching out was after the danger had passed for me – when I’d built up the strength to be able to face human contact.
Telling someone to talk to you if they need help is a nice idea, but could be putting so much pressure on a very unwell person, who probably doesn’t have the mental energy to even realise they’re unwell.
INSTEAD, TRY THIS: commit to yourself that you will listen for silence. That you will notice when one of your friends withdraws from the group. That YOU will check in with THEM. That you will make sure that if they tell you they’re fine, that you keep steady watch. And that if they don’t reply at all, you go to see them in person.
2. “It’s okay not to be okay”
The thought behind this is nice – that mental health issues should be destigmatized. I totally agree with that, and I wish that sentiment extended to things like psychosis that would actually terrify most of the people who say it.
But I think it’s a catch-22. Yes – please let’s make it normal to talk about our mental health issues with no judgment. But let’s not encourage people to sit with these feels. When I was really struggling, people used to say this to me all the time. I used to tell it to myself – “it’s okay that you feel like this, you’re just an anxious, miserable person. That’s okay” – ignoring that I had been a shell for nearly 2 years.
It is NOT okay to not be okay for long periods of time without help and support.
INSTEAD, TRY THIS: remind your struggling person that lots of people have the thoughts and feelings that they are having. They’re not alone in that. But remind them that they are not those feelings. It may be hard to change who we are, but we CAN change the way we feel.
Letting someone sit with their feels for a period of time after an event – like a break up or a death – is healthy. LETTING THEM SIT WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION LIKE DEPRESSION IS NOT.
Instead, encourage them to make positive changes and steps. Help them do that. Don’t just tell them they’re fine.
Here’s a few more useful links to list a few:
Prevention of young suicide:
If you need to talk to someone without judgement or anonymously:
If you want help or are concerned about someone else and you don’t know what to do, you can get information here:
If you don’t want to speak but feel happier texting – you can text a crisis volunteer here:
Image taken from www.purplehouseclinic.co.uk