It takes courage to take that first step towards accessing support. Often, people feel afraid or embarrassed. Sometimes, it helps if you offer to go with the person to the support service, or if you suggest making a phone call on their behalf. At other times, people may need practical help (for example, a lift) in getting to appointments.
If you go with someone to a support service appointment:
Be clear about your concerns
Clearly express your concerns and what you have noticed to the health professional you meet. Be sure that the health professional is aware if the person has expressed suicidal thoughts to you or if they have self-harmed. Your loved one may not be as clear with a health professional as they were with you, or may suggest that they are feeling much better now.
Talk to the health professional
If the health professional does not allow you to accompany the individual during their consultation, request an opportunity to speak with them afterwards. Use this time to give them as much information as you have.
Ask about support
Ask for clear information on support options. If your loved one has suicidal thoughts, ask for information on managing the risk of suicide and for any supports available.
Ask for their advice on how to keep the person safe, especially over the short-term. For example, if you need to remove medications from the house, can you bring them to the doctor or hospital for disposal?
Help is important
Take all the help you are offered. You may have to look for it. Just because help is not handed to you it does not mean it is not needed, so do keep asking questions and asking for support.