The two found themselves next to each other at a dinner party, and found themselves bonding over their extremely personal mental health moment, with Stephanie admitting she has felt very alone, and that she wanted to open up to LeeAnne to feel connected.
New York City-based therapist Dr. Liz Lasky tells Personal Space it was a deeply moving moment between the two, because talking about mental health encourages compassion.
“I don't even like to use the term ‘commit’ suicide, as if the person is committing a terrible act. Rather, I use the term ‘death by suicide’ to encourage more compassion and understanding in this area,” Dr. Lasky explains.
“I was happy to see these two women talk about something so personal and vulnerable. They give voice to the true pressures of suicidal ideation and wanting to die when problems feel too big. I think they provided a service to the viewers by taking away the shame of talking about suicide and suicidal attempts. Having them open up about how they are feeling and relating through these experiences help people feel more connected and, ultimately, supported.”
Should you share your feelings of depression and suicide with others? It can save your life.
“It is totally a personal choice,” Dr. Lasky says. “People tend to feel better when they share their feelings with others. I would push people to begin a conversation with someone with the desired outcome of the conversation. For example, ‘I’d like to tell you something personal and all I want you to do is listen.’ Someone may also say something like ‘I have been feeling really down and I need some support.’ Reaching out for help may be a difficult thing to do but it is the gateway to feeling supported and healing. We see that with Stephanie and LeeAnne. These two women were instantly connected and bonded after sharing their stories. This seems to be a catalyst to their friendship.”
And remember, Dr. Lasky says, it is common for anyone to think about their own mortality and sometimes suicide.
Many mental health sites discusses how important it is to talk about feelings of suicide, and gives advice on how to bring up the uncomfortable topic.
“There is often a part of the person that wants to live and a part that wants to die. It is important to hear their pain and work with the part that wants to live to keep the person safe and support them to seek help. Always allow the person the space to talk,” they report. A person who is thinking about taking their life is usually feeling overwhelming mental anguish and emotional pain. Allowing them the space and opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings can help a person thinking of suicide to feel supported, and may assist them to put things into perspective.”
Some conversation starters they suggest:
“I’ve noticed that you haven’t been yourself lately, is everything ok with you?”
“I’m worried about you. I’m wondering if we can talk about what’s troubling you?”
“You’ve seemed really (down/sad/angry/unhappy) lately. I’m worried that you might be thinking of hurting yourself or suicide. Can we talk about this?”
If you or someone you know are having feelings of hurting yourself or hurting others, please call the suicide hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK.
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