It’s very likely this person and the conversation will be on your mind non-stop once you finish it. For both of you, it’s smart to establish a loose agreement for follow up contact. This way, you can put any voice in the back of your mind that’s worry about hassling them, or being overbearing, to rest.
How often would it feel good for you to check-in? How will you do that? Offer support in whatever way you authentically want to (which could be as simple as sending a text every day, calling or watching a movie once a week, or going to their home to cook them a healthy dinner and staying the night) and see how they might best feel supported in this time. What do they need/want from you? What would make them feel best supported?
The person probably won’t be able to think much further past that moment, given how much mental effort it took to even open up in the first place. But there’s a chance they might be able to tune into what might make them feel better.
Regular phone calls offer more connection than text messages, with in-person visits obviously being the best option.
If that initial conversation impacted you, or if it made you think, or inspired you in some way, tell them when you’re catching up. Let them know how it made you feel to go through the process and have them open up to you, or take you to such a raw place. Be engaged and share in the development of the situation with them.
“If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen.” – Loretta Girzartis
Let them feel honored for having reached out, and safe and encouraged to continue to share themselves. This is the biggest part of this process. Be present, drop into your heart, give love, and you will go far beyond saving a life, to transforming it. If you truly open yourself to this, you’ll find yourself deeply transformed as well.
A suicidal person is like a wounded animal; they might lash out at you if you come towards them. But if you can make them feel that you are there to help, and tend to their wounds, they might end up changing their minds. Dealing with a suicidal person can be mentally draining and disturbing for you too, but always look at the bigger picture. You have an opportunity to save someone’s life, and what else can be greater than that?
Dedicated to your success, Jordan
If you want to know more about helping a suicidal person, check out this video below: