Suicidal thoughts and feelings can be frightening. Even if you aren’t sure you really want to end your life, you may not know how to tell your parents. They may know you’ve been struggling, but they may not guess you felt this hopeless. It’s understandable to hold back. You may worry about their reaction or want to avoid upsetting them. But when you keep your suicidal thoughts and feelings to yourself, you can feel isolated and helpless. Talking to your parents can be the first step toward feeling safer and better about your life. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the tips below can help you get started.
1. Describe your other problems first
It can be hard to talk about feelings, especially when everything seems negative and overwhelming. Talking about suicide may be the last thing you want to do. The painful feelings can be so real when you share them with someone else. You may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or like nobody can help you. It may help to start talking about other problems first. After you share some of your stories, you may feel like you can talk about your suicidal feelings more easily. Your parents may be unable to take your pain away, but they can show their love for you and keep you safe. And when they hear about the problems you’ve been struggling with, they may better understand how to help. It can be tough to do, but opening up can make a big difference.
2. Tell them you have something important to say
One way to begin is to simply tell your parents that you are struggling and that you need their help. This can alert your parents that you are in a crisis and that you need their help to get through it. Start by telling your parents you have something important to say to them. Make sure they know this can’t wait. If you have trouble getting the words out or expressing yourself, you will at least have their attention. And if you know they are supportive, they’ll be patient as you talk or write out your message. You want them to know that this moment is a priority.
3. Describe how you imagine hurting yourself
Sometimes a person feels like hurting themselves, but they don’t necessarily want to die. Talking to your parents can help them understand your thoughts, feelings, and what kind of plan you’ve thought about. You may worry that telling them details will get you in trouble or upset your parents. And while it may stir up many emotions, they can help you better when they know more details. If they need to prevent you from doing a specific action, talking about how you imagine hurting yourself will help. They will understand what may be a trigger for you and make your surroundings safer.
4. Try to find a quiet place with privacy
Feeling like you want to die is an urgent situation. You may not be able to think about much else, especially when you really want to get it off your chest. Try to find a quiet place with some privacy. Your parents will want to know more about your feelings and how to help you. That may be hard with other people around or in a noisy place. When you’re feeling a lot of emotion all at once, it can be hard to digest difficult news right away. A quiet place will help your parents focus on you and what you’re saying more easily. Their reaction may be upsetting to you, and you can’t always tell what will happen. It’s also possible that your parents won’t react the way you were hoping. It may be from shock or disbelief, or they may just be uncertain about what to do. Talking about suicidal feelings may be overwhelming for everyone, even if this isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. A calm environment can give everyone some space to react and communicate.
5. Try writing out your feelings if speaking is difficult
Strong feelings can make you choke on your words, even if you’ve practiced what to say. You know that once you start talking about feeling suicidal, your parents will react and everything will change. If saying these words out loud is too difficult, consider bringing a notebook with you. You can write a short note with one sentence to start with. Just state the most important part, that you think about dying or hurting yourself. After that, you may feel comfortable enough to speak. But don’t be surprised if it’s still easier to express yourself on paper. Getting started is often the hardest part. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just clear enough so they know you’re having a serious issue.
6. Show your parents this article
Opening up to your parents can be difficult, even if you know they support you. Getting started can be the hardest part, but getting help is essential. Suicidal feelings are painful, but there is help. With courage and the tips mentioned above, you can start the conversation and get the support you need. If you still struggle with talking with your parents, show them this article. It can be a way to start the conversation about what you are feeling.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-8255
If you are in a crisis and are unable to talk to your parents, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. This hotline is staffed 24 hours per day / seven days per week.
New Dimensions Can Help!
New Dimensions provides Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment to adolescents and adults who are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. We have programs in Katy, The Woodlands, and Houston, Texas. We also offer online virtual treatment programs for anyone who resides within the State of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, College Station, Waco, Corpus Christi, Midland, El Paso, Laredo, and Lubbock. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796 or visit our website at www.nddtreatment.com. You can also visit our affiliate at www.mhthrive.com.
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