Suicidal thoughts can affect people of any age, gender, or background. But although they’re quite common, suicidal thoughts should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

However, as concerned as we are when we notice that our beloved ones might be struggling with mental health, we often lack the knowledge on how to approach them. While a standard “how are you?” sometimes does the trick, it usually leads to the standard “I’m fine”.

So to broaden our conversation starter repertoire, artist Chronically Cheerful listed alternatives you can say with the underlying “I care” message, doing their part for the National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Later, Twitter user Angelica reshared the phrases and they really went viral, generating over 353,000 likes and 180,000 retweets.

Grab your notebook and continue scrolling, everybody.

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

According to the Mental Health Foundation, when you are aware that a person is having issues, it is important to act fast. Waiting and hoping they will come to you first might lose valuable time in getting them support.

When trying to have a chat with someone like this, set time aside with no distractions to provide an open and non-judgemental space.

Then the discussions begin, let them lead it at their own pace. Don’t pressure them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about. Honest talks take a lot of trust and courage. Consider that you might be the first person they are opening up to.

Since you probably aren’t a trained counselor, try not to assume what is wrong with your companion by jumping to diagnosis or solutions. Instead, keep your questions open-ended and give the person time to answer.

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

What you can talk about is wellbeing. Exercise, a healthy diet, and taking a break can help protect and sustain mental health. If you know any ways of de-stressing, share them.

Listen carefully to what they’re telling you. Don’t be afraid to repeat what they have said back to them to ensure you have understood it correctly. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but by showing that you know where they’re coming from can help the two of you form a stronger bond.

You might want to offer them help in seeking professional support but don’t take control and allow them to make decisions.

It’s crucial you understand the limits of your role in these situations. Ask for help or signpost if the problem is really serious. If you believe they are in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take action to make sure they are safe.

The woman responsible for the list going viral also had this to say

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

Image credits: angeliicuhhh

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And here’s how people responded

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