Realities of Suicide
The Path Towards Suicide Usually Follows One of Two Routes
1- A person experiences countless painful stressors over a long period of time. Then, a final straw- even a small one- pushes the person into the 'suicidal zone'.
2- A person has previously been able to draw on their coping skills and deal with life's many obstacles. This time, they are unable to muster, perhaps even locate, those skills. Their 'resiliency' fails them.
Some Facts About People Who Are Suicidal
They need to talk. They need to be heard. They need to be listened to. No one is listening- they are suffering in silence. Isolation becomes a way of life. Emotions build up, crisis sets in, and the pain is unbearable.
They need someone to let them know that they matter. Everyone needs to be acknowledged, validated- to know that they matter. Take the time to let people know that they matter. Smile. Call. Check up on people. Tell someone that you are happy that they are alive.
They need solutions. Find out what is going on in people's lives. Is there something they need help with? Ask questions. Discuss options, solutions, resources. Just knowing that there are things that can be done to change a person's situation can bring relief. The challenge is to keep the momentum going after the crisis. This means setting a course for getting help.
Suicide is more likely to occur in periods of remission or improved functioning
If you notice that your friend has suddenly become more peaceful after a bout of suicidal risk- beware. This may be a sign that your friend has made the decision to commit suicide and is feeling a great sense of relief and peace as a result.
The Mindset of A Suicidal Person
The person feels alone. It doesn't matter that they may be surrounded by millions of people, they still feel alone.
They don't have solutions. Life has become too hard. They cannot see any other solution but suicide to end to the pain.
They do not value their self. They experience self-loathing, and stop caring about what happens to them in part because they do not believe that they matter.
They don't believe that anybody cares about them. They feel isolated in their pain, in their world, and they do not feel that they matter.
Suicide intervention must appeal to these beliefs. Do not address these beliefs, address solutions and take actions that will prove these beliefs untrue. Do not argue. Do not argue what a person believes to be true, and do not belittle what matters to the person. This is not about you, this is about the person in need. This is the ultimate expression of respect.
Most suicidal people don't want to die, they just want to end the pain.
Suicidal is a state of mind that is usually temporary.
My Suggestions to You
Don't ignore any plea for help, or signs of a person not coping. This is your chance to make a difference in another person's life.
Don't ignore a person who says they want to die or kill themselves. This is the time to act, start a discussion, to acknowledge what they have said, and to intervene.
When a person is in crisis. Stay with this person. Do not let this person be alone. Stay with this person, be with this person, stay on the phone with this person, stay online for this person, let this person know that you are staying around for them, ... stay until the suicidal feelings have passed. Call emergency, go to this person, take this person to the hospital if you suspect suicide. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Follow up. Just because the crisis is over doesn't mean that the person won't reach crisis again. The thing to do is to encourage the person to get help, real life changing help, and to understand the process and realities of getting help. This means you need to address the person's concerns and to find solutions and resources. This is the first step in what may be a long road to recovery, and also the start of a long relationship of support.
Life Events & Circumstances to Watch Out For
School marks drop
Drug and alcohol use- substance abuse
Troubles at home
Family doesn't express emotions or feelings
Recent loss (any, even a small loss)
Death in the family
End of a relationship
Withdrawal from relationships
High Achievers- self-pressure and perfectionism
High risk: First Nations males, being male, youth, elderly, gay/lesbian/bisexual, person has already attempted suicide in the past
If more than one of the above is present, then be more concerned.
The most effective thing you can do is to get a person to talk.
Not all people will express a need for help. It is good practice to care about people and to find out what is going on in their lives.
Ask: what are you doing? If you see an attempt.
Acknowledge their distress.
Understand what is going on. Understand their immense pain.
Value them as a person.
Let them know that they are not alone.
Offer help. You will help them through this.
Reassure that even though it may not feel that way, the suicidal feelings won't last forever. Getting this person through the critical state is crucial.
Offer realistic hope.
ID other support (parents, friends, crisis lines, professionals). Link the person to these supports if you can.
Don't leave the person alone.
Ask the person to postpone their decision. This has shown to have good results.
Helping A Suicidal Person:
If You're Feeling Suicidal:
If you are depressed, in distress or in crisis, call A DISTRESS HOTLINE.
If you are in danger, call AN EMERGENCY LINE immediately.
If you need urgent medical or psychiatric attention, GO TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL NOW.
United States http://www.hopeline.com/
If you are concerned about someone being suicidal...