Ask me about risk
- It’s better to say something rather than nothing!
- Not saying anything about your worries about my risk will reinforce the idea that you don’t care and make me feel ashamed as it’s not something ok to talk about.
- Asking directly about difficult things shows me you actually care.
- Don’t worry about finding exactly the right words, your intention to understand and be caring is more important to me.
- If you get it wrong, acknowledge it and try again – I understand you’re human (and sometimes it’s a nice reminder that we don’t all get our words right)
- You could say: “It would be really helpful for me to get a better understanding of how you’re feeling so we can figure out together what would help…?”
- If I’ve had mental health problems or have been self harming for some time, I’m probably quite experienced at managing it. You could say: “What’s changed today?”
- Focus on my feelings not my behaviours and give me time to talk about how I’m feeling
- Remember (and remind me) I’m a person, not just an ‘injury’ or a ‘risk’.
- Ask me about intention to understand if I meant to harm myself or if I was feeling suicidal.
- Be honest and direct, you could say: “You’re In A+E because you felt like you wanted to die and we want to look after you and keep you safe”.
- You could say: “How much of a risk to yourself do you feel right now?”
Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, you could say: “Did you intend to harm yourself?” or “Did you want to die?”
- Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it.
- Remind me you’re asking because you care and want to keep me safe
It’s ok to acknowledge these questions are difficult.