Another key protective factor against suicidality is connectedness to family and friends (SANE Australia, 2013). This is particularly true for young people, as many turn to family and friends for support rather than talking to a health professional (Sheffield, Fiorenza & Sofronoff, 2004). Young people should be encouraged to maintain connections or reconnect with their families and friends (where appropriate) and develop supportive relationships with peers.
Where practical and with consent of the young person, practitioners can involve suitable family and friends in the young person’s safety support plan. Family and friends can provide day-to-day support and support the young person through the process of treatment and recovery. For example, a family member can drive the young person to appointments or encourage them to make another appointment with a health professional. Family and friends can be observant for warning signs and help by reducing access to lethal means.
See the Working with Families module for more details on engaging family support.