• How to Support an LGBTQ Loved One With Suicidal Thoughts?

    counselor faces clients in therapy session

    For many years a deeply entrenched stigma has been placed against the LGBTQ community which is why they have lived secretively in the past. However, they still face discrimination in their personal lives, in the workplace, and in the public sphere. Often people around them struggle to accept them and their sexual identity. The culmination of all these negative experiences can trigger suicidal thoughts.

    Studies show that the support system of LGBTQ folks with suicidal thoughts has a huge role to play in preventing them from turning their thoughts into action. Loneliness can trigger suicidal ideation. It is important for their friends and family to make them feel they belong.

    Here are some ways to support your LGBTQ loved one with suicidal thoughts.

    Keep an Open Mind

    Your attitude impacts the way you show acceptance. Do not judge your LGBTQ loved one by ostracizing their sexual orientation. Demonstrate a willingness to accept perspectives other than your own. Be mindful when talking about their lifestyle and attraction patterns. When you make a genuine effort to understand what your friend/family member is going through and their version of events, your LGBTQ loved one is far more likely to feel that you genuinely want to help.

    Check-in With Them Regularly

    Check-in with your loved one regularly. Call them at least once a week. If they live close to you, pay them a visit every now and then. Ask them how they’re doing and if they’re facing any professional or personal challenges. Point out any disturbing behavior patterns or any other concerns you may have observed. Checking in regularly with the person is a great way to show that you are always there for them and assure them that they can come to you when they need help.

    Help Them Connect

    Help your loved one connect with support groups, a mental health professional, and other resources in their community. Encourage them to reach out to friends and other family members whom you think will be more than happy to offer compassionate support. Work with them to develop a safety plan that helps them identify disturbing thought patterns. A safety plan should specify what to do in moments of crisis. It should include a list of people to contact when a crisis occurs.

    When caring for an LGBTQ loved one with suicidal thoughts, do not ignore your needs. It is important that you practice self-care or you may end up feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Give yourself time to process what’s happening. Build a support network you can lean on when stress leaves you feeling emotionally numb or tired. Make time for the activities that you enjoy the most.

    Cooper Mental Health Counseling is committed to helping individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. We offer different types of therapies to stop spiraling negative thoughts from taking control. To talk to a couples psychologist in Manhattan, call (347) 244-7873.

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