When someone communicates distress online
As most of us now spend a lot of our time online, it’s a natural step that people use the medium to communicate feelings of great distress.
A lot of the time we spend online is on social networking sites, so nowawdays as many us of share the good things going on in our lives, some of us can use the same mechanics to say when things are not great.
There have been cases where people have posted suicidal thoughts on Facebook that have drawn a lot of attention and those who witness them often don’t know how to respond.
Do reach out
If you see someone post suicidal thoughts, do contact them. Don’t ignore it and assume that someone else will respond.
It could be an occasion where you don’t feel like you know the person that well, but even so, make sure you don’t leave it up to someone else.
Contact them privately
If they have posted something publically, try to get them on text or private message. The idea is to get them from voicing all of what’s going on for them publically, to not leave them feeling open to comments that may not be so helpful.
Tell them there’s help
Let them know that you’re really sorry they feel so low but that there is help available and they don’t have to be alone. Read this ‘I need help now‘ and direct them to the help organisations they can access.
If you think they are risk of hurting themselves, what you do next depends on your relationship with them and also how physically close to them.
You could offer to go and be with them if they’re nearby, or if you don’t feel that would be a good move, or you’re not near them you need to think about contacting someone closer to them.
Know your own limits
It’s good to be aware what you can and can’t do in this situation. People may push your offer to help away and that can be hard to take. But know that you were doing the right thing.
You may also not be that close to this person and feel ill equipped as you have no idea what is going on in their life. This is not a reason to not reach out, but it is a reason for you to be aware that you can only do so much.
Saying you are are sorry they feel the way they do and saying they don’t feel to deserve to feel that bad, but there is help out there is the best thing you can do.
Acknowledging how they feel and making them feel less alone, letting them know you’re there to talk can make a huge difference.