We are thankful you care about your friend and are being proactive to get them help. It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. Maybe you’ve seen a change in personality and a few of the signs are present: they appear to be feeling helpless, they lost interest in doing things with you and your friends, they have no confidence in themselves or their abilities. People experiencing depression or having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control.
From A Suicide Attempt Survivor: The very second a person starts to carry out their plan they may ask themselves, ” What am I doing? I want to live!”
Don’t be afraid to ask someone you think is depressed and may be struggling emotionally if they’ve thought of plan. If they tell you “yes” they are probably ready to get help, but they are also close to carrying out their plan. Remind your friend you are there for them and want to help them get better.
How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide:
- If in CRISIS CALL 911 and stay with them.
- Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide. As hard as it may be to say the words, ask them if they are having thoughts of suicide.
- Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
- Be willing to listen non-judgmentally.Allow expressions of feelings and accept the feelings.
- Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong or whether feelings are good or bad.
- Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support. Remind them how much you look forward to making many more memories with them. Offer to go on outings or offer to make and go with them to counseling appointments.
- Don’t dare him or her to do it.
- Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
- Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
- Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
Again, if they are in crisis CALL 911.
Seeking professional help and following a treatment plan will help them work through their emotions and get them feeling better sooner. There are local and national resources to assist in times of need. Check out SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for Local Treatment Centers and enter your zip code or go to American Psychological Association to get a full list of counselors and therapists in your community.
Again, we encourage you and your friend to call The Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The Lifeline is available 24/7. Your call is routed to the Lifeline center closest to your area code.
You can also Text START to 741741; people are there too for you and your friends.
We encourage you and your friend to call The Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The Lifeline is available 24/7. Your call is routed to the Lifeline center closest to your area code. You can also Text START to 741741; people are there too for you and your friends.
- Talking about suicide and having a preoccupation with death – may be subtle, may be direct, may be drawn or written.
- Making statements about hopelessness or helplessness – don’t see life changing for the better. There is no way out.
- Loss of interest – withdraw from friends and family, stop doing things they once enjoyed.
- Giving one’s things away or throwing away important belongings.
- Setting business in order – cleaning.
- Suddenly happy, calmer.
- Disturbance in eating or sleeping – lack of sleep, eating is not important, frequently complain about physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, etc.
- Previous suicide attempts.
These Are Some of the Feelings and Thoughts They Experience:
- Can’t Stop the Pain
- Can’t Think Clearly
- Can’t Make Decisions
- Can’t See Any Way Out and Feel Hopeless
- Can’t sleep, eat or work
- Can’t Make the Sadness Go Away
- Can’t see a future without pain
- Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
- Can’t get out of depression
- Can’t get someone’s attention
- Can’t seem to get control
If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help! First and foremost be supportive, patient, positive, and don’t forget to listen. Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent and someone offered them help.