HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Kenza Haddock with Oceanic Counseling Group said there’s one thing loved ones do that could cause more harm for someone struggling with their mental health.
“A lot of times when someone talks to someone, like a loved one who is experiencing a mental health-related difficulty, the loved one’s first act is to try and fix the situation, instead of sitting down with them, with a cup of coffee, and just listening to them and validating them,” she said.
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If a loved one tries to fix the situation, they can feel like something is wrong with them, or if someone tells them they’re being dramatic, or too sensitive, that can send them into a downward spiral.
“That’s where we go wrong normally,” she said. “We try to fix the person instead of listening to them, and that’s where therapy comes in, because they’re able to meet with a professional, they’re able to sort through their feelings, and process their emotions.”
Oceanic Counseling Group offers counseling for children, couples, and individuals, and Haddock said it’s crucial for someone to seek that care if they’re struggling.
She said depression can present itself in ways, and while professionals are trained to see those signs, they’re also prepared to offer the best path forward.
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“It’s a lot easier for us as human beings to go down a spiral, because you know if you think of a slide, it’s a lot easier to go down a slide than to climb up a slide,” she said.
Anxiety and depression feed off of each other.
She said it’s also important for anyone who might not see the difference between a mental health struggle, or a bad day to seek counseling.
“A professional would be able to explain, is this anxiety? Or is this a typical response to a bad day?” she said.
Like we would go to a medical doctor for an annual physical, she said someone who might be curious about the state of their mental health could do the same.
She said for survivors who lost a loved one to suicide, they might not understand their grief. She said they could feel anger toward the person who died by suicide, and that can be confusing, but a professional will explain it’s a normal reaction of processing grief.
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“I’ve often told my patients, I would use a picture of the wall, ‘this is how much you see of yourself,’ and I’d have them stand directly in front of the picture,” she said. “I would say a professional is able to see the long shot.”
For anyone who has a loved one struggling with their mental health, or anyone who is struggling themselves, she said they need to know they have people supporting them.
“Don’t just leave them there, check in with them, let them know you care about them, they matter, and they have a purpose in life. They’re not alone,” she said.
Do not isolate, reach out to at least one person a day, that is the minimum.
Anyone wishing to seek counseling care from Oceanic Counseling Group can click here, or visit one of their offices.
You can also access the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling 988 on your phone.