How to Help Someone with Suicidal Thoughts

How to Help Someone with Suicidal Thoughts

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

 

When someone you love is depressed and when a depressed person starts to get in a lot of pain and loses hope, they often have suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Now, many Americans have a misconception about what happens when a person who’s depressed gets suicidal. Often, they say “Oh don’t talk about suicide, you’re just trying to get attention, you’re just basically trying to make us feel sorry for you.”

No, this is not the case. Oftentimes, when a person talks about suicide, it’s a cry for help and it must be taken seriously. So, in case you know someone who’s going through something like this, I have some do’s and don’ts to share with you.

Do ask the person if he or she is suicidal:

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

Do ask the person if he or she is serious about killing themselves. Contrary to popular opinion, talking about suicide will not make it more likely to happen. It will make it less likely to happen, because when people talk about their pain and they feel that there is someone who’s listening and that someone understands, that pain diminishes and as the pain diminishes, so do the suicidal feelings and impulses.

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Don’t act shocked or disapproving:

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

 

Yes, don’t act shocked or disapproving. Don’t tell a person it’s a bad idea, as if they had any control over it. Suicidal thoughts or feelings are a symptom of a depression,  just like a high white blood cell count is a symptom of an infection. It comes with the territory. It’s not a conscious decision. It’s a result of unbearable pain that seems to have no end.

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Don’t give the person a lecture:

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

Yes, the last thing that a person needs is a lecture about suicide. About whether it’s moral or immoral. What they need is support. Not you as someone disapproving of their point of view. That’s not going to help whatsoever.

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Remove the means of self-harm:

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

It is absolutely essential if you think that a person is serious about killing themselves to remove the means of self-harm. I remember one time we had a girl in our group, Polly, suicidal and she had a gun in her house. One of the other members of the group went to the house and took the gun away.

Oftentimes, those feelings of suicide are transitory. They’ll pass in an hour and a day. Maybe even a week and if you can stay alive during that time and not act on it, you’re going to come through it. So, it’s important to remove the means because without the means, the act is not going to happen. 

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Ask the person if they have a specific plan:

Asking the person if he or she has a specific plan is very important. This is what happened when I was suicidal. It’s one thing to think “Oh I’m in a lot of pain, I wish I could die, I don’t want to be alive.”

It’s another thing to say, “It’s six o’clock tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to the top of this bridge and jump.”

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

 

If you hear of a plan with that kind of specificity, you need to get that person help immediately. You can’t leave them alone. You can call the mental health crisis line. You can take them to the emergency room. You can call their psychiatrist. Take them to the nearest emergency room. You can call 1-800 suicide helpline.

Whatever it takes, you need to hook that person up with resources and support if you hear that they have a specific plan and  are intending to act upon that plan.

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Make a stay safe contract:

This is what I’ve done with my clients. What people did with me, it’s called a no suicide or no self-harm contract. Essentially, what the person does is, they stay on the contract. If I feel like I’m in danger of hurting myself,  I will call one of these people and use usually a list of three or four, maybe five people on that contract. The therapist, the crisis line, a friend, and a family member.

Maybe even yourself, someone they can call before they take action, because again, the impulse will go away. Its’ not just important that they don’t act on it. So, the stay safe contract is really  essential.

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Don’t keep secrets:

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

A lot of people have said before, “Please don’t tell anybody that I’m suicidal.”  That is the worst thing you can do.

There’s an old saying from  Alcoholics Anonymous, ” We’re only as sick as our secrets.” Keeping this hidden is not the right thing to do. You have to tell the appropriate people. This is serious business, so the person who is having these feelings can get help, because with help, they will pass and the person will recover.

You know they once said that “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Once the act is done, you can’t go back and reverse it. That’s why it’s important to intervene at once.

——How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts——

Get Help:

Getting help is the whole point of writing this article for you folks. It is absolutely essential that you reach out for help, especially when there’s an  individual having suicidal thoughts. Call the crisis line, hook them up with a therapist, if they don’t already have one, take them to the emergency room. The key point is to intervene and to get the support the person needs until this moment passes.

How to help someone with Suicidal Thoughts

Without that support, the pain will overwhelm the person of resources to cope with the pain and they may act on their feelings. Assure the person that this too shall pass. It will pass. I’ve witnessed this in the 13 years I’ve been doing depression support groups.

Every single individual who said they were suicidal, who said they were serious about killing themselves got the right help. So, the moral of the story is clear.

One- Suicide urges are temporary .

Two- They will pass.

Three- People do recover.

If you get the person the right kind of help and intervene at the right time, the suicide act can be prevented and people will recover. Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you.

Looking for a Psych Therapist in Ontario???  Visit https://www.healingpcc.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *