Ways To Help A Veteran Who Has Attempted Suicide by David Wilcox

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 @ 11:31AM

 

Photo via Pixabay by Romi

Veterans who have suffered from the stresses of combat or PTSD are at a high risk for suicide; it’s estimated that 22 veterans take their own lives each day, and many more than that attempt to do so. It’s important, therefore, to know different ways to help your loved one after they have attempted suicide.

Many veterans have found success in therapy and/or medication, but there are things individuals can do at home that will make things easier, and you can help with many of them. Here are some of the best.

Writing

Creative writing or journaling can be extremely helpful for people who suffer from depression, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts. You can find writing prompts online to get your loved one started and encourage them to write a little bit each day. Having an outlet with a bit of structure can help organize thoughts and banish anxiety.

Art as therapy

Visual art, dance, music, and theater are all wonderful ways to express oneself. Even if your loved one insists that they are not creative, help them find something they enjoy doing that will allow them to get in touch with and handle their most difficult emotions. Art therapy has been used to great effect in helping people with anxiety, mood disorders, and PTSD in recent years because it can be done in a soothing environment and allows the sufferer to work out negativity in a healthy way.

Get social and stay organized

Isolation often plays a big part in suicide attempts, so after your loved one has been in recovery for a while, help them find ways to ease into a social situation and stay there. Whether it means finding a group therapy session to attend once a week or getting out of the house to the library or to grab a coffee, it’s important for survivors of suicide to feel like they are part of a community.

Help your loved one set tasks for the week and write everything down on a calendar so they can mark them off as they go. This can help them feel like they are achieving goals every day, which is an important part of recovery.

Physical health

It’s important not to forget about physical health. Help your loved one–with the assistance of their doctor, if necessary–figure out a fitness routine that works for them. Whether it’s walking a little every day or doing yoga, exercise can be great for mental well-being and can help your loved one feel more energetic and good about themselves.

Substance abuse treatment

If substance abuse played a part in your loved one’s suicide attempt, ensure that they have received adequate treatment for it apart from any therapy they are attending. Drugs and alcohol only make PTSD symptoms and suicidal thoughts worse, so it’s important to make sure the survivor is coping in only healthy ways and isn’t in danger of a relapse.

If you feel your loved one is in danger of another attempt on their life, don’t hesitate; get help. Don’t leave them alone and remove any items from the area that could be used for self harm. Don’t be afraid to bring up the word “suicide” to the person and let them know you are concerned for their well-being. Try not to use judgmental words; simply let them know you’re there for them, you’re listening, and that you are taking them seriously.

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