“Role playing was a real eye-opener, it helped me to refocus and get my life back on track”

When’s Steven’s friend reached out to SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) he had no idea that a telephone call would give him the tools he needed to save his life.

Steven had been struggling for some time. A massive football fan with a job in manufacturing and a network of friends and family around him; he seemed to have it all, but he found himself in a situation where he wasn’t coping. It wasn’t just a one-off bad day. It became a pattern, a way of life until his friend noticed and contacted SAMH.

Jack, a SAMH worker trained in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) was able to place a call with Steven.

Here’s how the conversation took place.

The first thing Jack did was to ask Steven if he was ok. Steven was quick to say he was struggling and in quite a bad way. Jack was upfront and asked Steven if he was feeling suicidal. He said he was having thoughts of suicide but wasn’t at this point acting on his feelings.

Steven acknowledged that he had been drinking and it had been affecting his mood. He was feeling worse off for it.

Jack realized quite quickly into the call that Steven’s confidence and self-worth was very low. He detected this through the words he was using.  By using role-play Jack was able to highlight some of the positives in Steven’s life; the fact he was cycling regularly and had actively been visiting people.  Soon Steven was able to see that there were some positive things happening in his life, he just wasn’t able to identify them because of the way he was feeling.

Jack and Steven discussed ways Steven could help himself and the first being to make an appointment with his GP to discuss his depression and medication.

By talking about his feelings, his attitudes and his recent behaviours Steven was given the tools he needed to get him through this difficult period including recognising the skills and strengths he already had.

Could your Secret Santa start a life-saving conversation?

This Christmas, we’re asking you to do Secret Santa a little differently and make SAMH your Not So Secret Santa.