This post is part of our #MentalHealthWeek series on empathy and suicide prevention. To view the entire series, click here.
Empathy and Suicide Prevention
Empathy is important for supporting mental health, and we want to focus on the specific role that empathy plays in suicide prevention.
One way to help prevent suicide is to notice when someone might be struggling and to start a conversation about what you are noticing. Research shows that the reasons someone may be having thoughts of suicide are usually deeply personal and based on how they understand themselves, their experiences, and the challenges or opportunities in their life. Therefore, to understand why someone may be having thoughts of suicide, we need to be able to connect to how they are feeling.
How do we do this?
By using empathy! In yesterday’s post, we defined empathy as “the ability to recognize, understand, and share the feelings of another.” When we demonstrate empathy, we are showing the person that their thoughts and feelings matter, and that they are not alone. For many who struggle with thoughts of suicide, showing up with empathy and listening is an important way to support the individual and encourage hope.
Stay tuned for tomorrow, where we will be discussing the ways you can incorporate empathy into your conversations.