By: IMAlive Volunteer Gail
We at IMAlive are very excited that so many of our Twitter followers (@_IMAlive) took part in our first Twitter poll! We asked a question that not only helps us to do our jobs better but that can also help you to think about what you actually would do if that situation unfortunately did arise.
We asked, “If you were suicidal who would you reach out to?”
The results were indeed interesting. “Family” received a mere 10%. That does actually make a lot of sense though. Most of us have the need to feel secure within our family units. It is natural to fear that an admission of suicidal thoughts would bring about recrimination from family therefore isolating us even more. “Friends” led at 40% but considering that friends often act as chosen family there is less fear of judgment and of being permanently pushed away. “No one” came in at a whopping 34%. The idea that so many would choose not sharing their feelings with anyone and opt for actually dying by suicide rather than face a negative response is terrifying.
Coming in at 16% are chatlines and hotlines like those we offer here at IMAlive. This number can highlight just how desperately chatlines and hotlines are needed but are inadvertently overlooked. If a person in crisis chooses to utilize an IMAlive service, for example, they would be met with someone who would truly listen to them. They would not be judged but rather respected as someone capable of making their own decisions. In addition, they could have a conversation that included actual resources they could use to move forward in their plan to heal.
What stands out the most though is that friends and family – the people who are trusted most often with another’s reality – are people who are not actually trained to help. If upon hearing that the person they love is suffering enough to end their life, a positive response from them could include support, a loving ear, and kindness. There is undoubtedly nothing better than being enveloped by those who truly love you when you’re feeling your worst; but at the end of the day they may not be best equipped to work with you to find your way off of the road you’re traveling. This is where a chatline or hotline can prove its most valuable. We act as a neutral yet supportive ear and as volunteers have received extensive and intense training; and in many cases, have accumulated years of experience.
In a perfect world, if you were to find yourself enduring a crisis, you would have a warm and supportive family to turn to in addition to a close-knit group of friends. Collectively, they could encourage you to contact an organization such as IMAlive which could help you find some professional assistance. Most people don’t have all of that but if you do have a terrific family and one or more solid friendships you can turn to then that is truly a wonderful thing! If you are someone who feels that they are dealing with this pain on their own or whose support system is great but not all that helpful in finding viable solutions then please consider contacting a chatline or hotline. No one should have to feel a pain that is unspeakable or believe that the world would be a better place without them in it. We care. We value you. And we’re here to listen.