5 Ways we can support our peers who experience suicidal ideation
As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions increase again, we know each of us continue to support our mental health in different ways during these difficult times. As a collective of queer and trans youth leaders, we gathered in 2020 to create a resource that shares our hopes and aspirations around supporting ourselves and our community. We would like to share some of our responses to suicidal thoughts in hopes that it will serve as affirming reminders when we feel low, and as a starting place to reach out to our friends. Please save this, revisit it, or share it with someone you are thinking of.
This resource was created in partnership with YouthCO and CBRC.
Image description: The text is on a pastel pink background with four squiggly lines that are composed of different pride flag colours. Slides 1 and 7-11 have icons of black, brown and white hands holding a series of pride flags, including a trans flag, bisexual pride, pansexual flag and nonbinary flag.
Slide 1, text: Five ways we can support those of us who experience suicidal ideation.
Slide 2, text: We know that as queer and trans youth, it is very common to experience thoughts of suicide.
Slide 3, text: Sometimes things feel too hard and it feels impossible to cope. Other times it can feel that our only way out of the pain is to end our life.
Slide 4, text: When we have these thoughts, it can be frightening, overwhelming, or comforting and reassuring depending on our experience of mental health.
Slide 5, text: When these thoughts come up for us, it can be helpful when people in our lives are able to support us in ways where we feel seen and understood. It can also be challenging to imagine what that support could look like or how to ask.
Slide 6, text: Here are some examples of what it might look like for us to support our friends or receive help.
Slide 7, text: Acknowledge that it's okay that these thoughts are happening and that we are not alone.
Slide 8, text: Validate our experiences by saying “that sounds really hard” or “it makes a lot of sense that you would feel overwhelmed by that.” This creates an atmosphere of compassion and an increased feeling of safety by sharing that we are heard, understood and that we are supported.
Slide 9, text: When we're having these thoughts it can be difficult to eat, sleep, go to work or school, or be present in relationships. That’s okay. Supporting us could look like: receiving food, checking in via text, connecting us back into webs of support, reassuring that our friends are waiting for us when we’re ready to engage.
Slide 10, text: As friends we may or may not fully understand our friends’ relationships to police, doctors, and mental health practitioners. Therefore, it is important to get consent before we share this information with others. Some folks in our community have a duty to report and may be legally obligated to intervene in ways we might not be ready for and that can be more harmful than helpful.
Slide 11, text: Remind us that these times are hard and that it is okay to have emotions that feel despairing and hopeless. Let us know that we will be supported when we are ready to find moments of relief and joy.