Open ended questions (give the other person the opportunity to fully express their feelings and thoughts):
“How long have you had this feeling for?” Or “What was the hardest part of _________ (the job, your marriage, the pandemic, etc.)? “
Listen openly and without judgment.
Offer to help obtain additional support:
“What you are talking about seems difficult. Have you considered talking to a professional? I could help you look around, if that can help.
Taking steps to limit access to deadly means (ie drugs, guns, etc.) is another good suicide prevention step you can take. The Ten Region Community Services Council continues to partner with Lock and Talk Virginia (www.lockandtalk.org) to provide free drug lock boxes and gun trigger locks to help individuals and families to lock down deadly means. For more information and to learn how to receive these free resources, visit www.regionten.org/doyourpart.
Another way to continue having conversations about mental health is to engage with groups and coalitions focused on promoting health and wellness. Many efforts have been made locally to normalize conversations about mental health, increase safety and prevent suicide.
The Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition works to improve access to mental health and addiction services and advocates for progress in Charlottesville, Albemarle County and surrounding counties. Its campaign, Help Happens Here, aims to raise awareness of mental health supports and includes a referral line operated by the City of Charlottesville Department of Social Services. More information about the Health and Wellness Coalition can be found on their website at www.helphappenshere.org