Join Date: Nov 2008
Suicide, depression and how to REALLY help (from a attempted suicide survivor)
If you want to help a suicidal person: For starters, put all of your fears, anger and everything that is solely your own feelings ASIDE. This isn't about you, it is about them.. their LIFE may be at stake! So realize what is more important and get that priority straight right up front with yourself. If you have the slightest doubt that you can handle it... you are better off just making an anonymous call to a local crisis clinic and the police and having that person forcefully evaluated. Yes, that seems cold and harsh, but what is colder and harsher is an extremely depressed and highly suicidal person being confronted by a scared, insensitive person concerned with their own feelings. But if you find yourself that you can handle it..it doesn't matter if they are a distant friend or your closest spouse.. this IS WHAT YOU SAY reflected in words AND emotions
First BE CALM and express:
“I can tell something is wrong and that you are hurting. I’m here for you.”
“I’ve heard you talk a lot about suicide lately. Are things getting so bad that you’re thinking about ending it all?” (SAY IT STRAIGHT OUT IN A CALM BUT NOT BELITTLING TONE)
IMPORTANT: “There’s nothing you can say that will shock me or make me reject you. Help me understand what you are going through.” (LISTEN, let them talk and don't interrupt)
“I am here for you, always know that"
“I know you’re really hurting, but believe me, no matter what you think right now, we, us, I will never be better off without you.”
“I think we need to talk to someone who knows what to do to help you. Can we go talk to someone together?” (SUGGEST, DON'T PUSH --> (Ultimately, this IS the goal though)
“You don’t have to talk if you don’t feel like it. Get mad if you want, but I’m staying right here.” (DO NOT leave the person for any reason what so-ever, call a friend. relative to stay with them if you have to go to work or school... better yet, take the day off... aren't they worth it? ... DO NOT CALL THE POLICE OR AN AMBULANCE (YET) UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR SURE YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL - I'll Explain)
“I am listening if you want to talk.”
"We, I, am here for you, always"
“I can’t promise to keep this a secret. You are my friend, spouse, etc and I want to help you. We need to tell someone who can help us.”
"We will get through this together"
"I love you"
I know this situation can be as tragic for the person helping as it is for the victim... but don't give up! If you have to seek your own professional counseling to continue it... do it!! They're worth it, therefore, you are worth it!
Now these are things one should NEVER SAY:
"Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and go on with your life"
"Life sucks then you die, right" (NEVER say this, not even as a joke!)
"Keep yourself busy, that will keep your mind off of it"
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger"
"Go ahead, kill yourself then!" <-- from a person I helped financially and was
in fear that I would ask him to pay me back
"Suicide is a sin"
"I can't stay with you or keep on talking to you, but if you keep talking like this, I will call the police" (and they do)
All of the above was told to me several times from those that were closest to me... and believe it or not, they said it out of anger due to fear! And this is not uncommon! So PLEASE... if you value the person contemplating suicide... remember something... once they start talking about it, it is already in their mindset.. they are already thinking about it. If you further discourage them because of your own fear that could be the line that can drive them over that edge! And once that edge is crossed it can't be reversed... they will be dead, gone forever. And if they don't fully cross over it the trust they had in you before, the trust that instigated the urge for them to talk to you in the first place will vanish! And if they ever become suicidal again the chances that that person will turn to you again will be slim.
I mentioned before the reason why one shouldn't jump to call the police. For starters, forcefully going to the hospital ward because of a suicidal threat isn't like going to a spa. The police show up at the house or apartment in front of the neighbors causing much embarrassment, they also follow you to watch you all over the house, including going into the bathroom, watching you pack a bag for the hospital, maybe even handcuffing you if you become too distressed. It is a demoralizing experience added to the already crumbling attitude about yourself. And it doesn't help that the "friend" that called may be looked at as a "hero", but the suicidal person feels they have been betrayed after experiencing the consequences of the call. After the arrival at the hospital, the person gets locked up alone or with others in the same shape or worse. If they are not admitted for a stay, they get a shot or a pill, a chat with a social worker (most, because of the hours waiting, are ready to tell them anything just to get out of that locked room!), then released with a worry of getting a ride back home. Then, even though the person is being coerced, that doesn't matter as far as the hospital bill is concerned! They will be liable to pay it, so make sure insurance companies are called, etc beforehand. This happens with most first time suicide threats. They are are actually treated like a criminal! So calling the police should be the very, very last resort... and that's if everything else fails, if there is absolutely no way that you can stay with them, needing to leave them alone, with no other choice etc. or if the person is actually trying to commit the act of suicide right in front of you! The best way and the most ultimate goal then is to try to talk them into getting them to get help for themselves, physically staying with them until they do. Even if it's driving them to the local hospital and sitting in the parking lot while
talking about it with them. Consoling them that you will be with them "all the way".
After a person does get confined to a stay in the hospital, PLEASE visit them. Call them daily, they need to hear from you. Bring them cards and gifts if allowed. Remind them they are loved and you are waiting for them at home. Take the time to read up on everything concerning depression and suicide, become educated with it. Remember, depression CAN be treated! Suicide thoughts DO subside and fade all together with proper care both mentally and physically... but most of all, the most important part of recovery will be the fact that they know you love them!
Last edited by Administrator; 07-31-2009 at 10:39 AM.