Talking to loved ones about their mental health

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:28 AM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - In December, the 988 Crisis Lifeline answered 48% more calls and 1400% percent more texts from people battling with their mental health compared to the same time in 2021. Experts say while more people are turning to the hotline for help, there are things you can do to help a family member or friend deal with their burdens.

Statistics show 80% of those who died by suicide talked about it with a loved one or friend about one week beforehand.

Discussing mental health with a loved one can be uncomfortable, but health professionals say, you temporary discomfort of the conversation may be what can keep someone from harming themselves.

Experts say don’t hesitate to ask direct questions.

“Being very direct about it. Are you having thoughts of harming yourself? Asking the question in different ways to gauge what this person is thinking about right now. Remembering that asking somebody about suicide does not increase their risk of dying by suicide,” said Jeanna Scheffler, the director of clinical services at Prairie St. John’s.

It’s also recommended to not use sarcasm or to be judgemental when having the conversation.

Now that winter is in full effect, it may be time to check in with those you love as the cold weather can be really hard for those dealing with mental health struggles.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health resources are available.