There are a myriad of facts and figures about suicide all over the internet. Those numbers are just cold, hard statistics. Of all the facts, stats, and numbers to remember, one is truly important; suicide is 100% preventable. That’s coming from someone who’s been through the uphill emotional battles. It comes from someone who’s touched the frosty tip of a knife to his own skin. It comes from someone who’s seen his schizophrenic mother nearly die of her own will, but instead she chose life. But that’s enough about me! Now let’s figure out how to help someone who’s fighting this internal war. Maybe you believe someone is considering suicide but you are unsure of the warning signs and how to effectively confront the person. What do you do? Read on and find out of course.
1) First thing’s first, look out for some of these red flags:
• The person states and believes that life isn’t worth living.
• The person gives away possessions that they once held very near and dear.
• The person has lost much interest in activities they used to enjoy.
• The person is getting everything in order (i.e paying off bills, making peace about old arguments/fights, seeking forgiveness from others).
• Feelings of hopelessness.
• Reckless behavior.
• Increased use of alcohol and drugs.
(Grohol, 2007 and Pain Isn’t always Obvious, 2014)
2) Alright, Mr.Caring and Perceptive, you’ve zoned in on those target behaviors with your eye for detail and unflinching empathy. What the heck do you do now?!
• Start an open, honest, non-judgmental dialogue with the person.
o Correct: Do you ever feel so bad you consider suicide? (SAVE, 2014)
o Incorrect: So you’re not thinking of doing anything stupid, are you?
• If they answer “Yes”, ask “Do you have a plan/method for suicide?” (SAVE,2014) This little nugget of information allows you to see how far the person has thought ahead. It gauges how serious this person has thought about it.
• So you’re heart grows incredibly heavy because your loved one has a well-developed plan…Here’s what you do.
o DO NOT KEEP THE PLAN A SECRET! Seriously, don’t do it. Try to get them to a mental health professional if possible and try to talk about everything. (SAVE,2014) Suicidal thoughts and tendencies can be the cause of a number of mental health issues such as depression so it’s best the person speak with a professional. It’s better for that person to hate you while they’re alive than if they’re dead. Trust me.
o Do not make them feel guilty for their thoughts. Try your best to understand and offer support. Remind them that their problems are temporary and suicide is a permanent solution. (SAVE, 2014) We’re all humans wrestling our own inner demons. Don’t make someone feel bad because their resilience isn’t the same as yours. The same red blood gushes through that person too, help with what you can.
o Remind them: Life gets better. It really does, especially when you’ve got great friends and a positive outlook. Good food helps too…
3) What to do if you’re feeling suicidal?
o If you need to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.
o Promise not to do anything right now!
o Avoid drugs and alcohol. That’s right! Put it down and back away quickly.
o Place yourself in a safe environment.
o Keep hope and talk it out. Don’t give up on yourself. There’s no telling what beauty tomorrow brings.
(Suicide Help, 2014)
So why should you care about anything I have to say about suicide? Well, I’ve been there. I’ve held the knife to my wrists. I know the bitter coldness of a kitchen knife as it licks your skin. I’ve seen my mom almost poison herself. I’m human just like you and I know how hard it is to get through certain days. Please believe me, no matter what you or your loved one is going through it will pass. It will pass just as surely as the stars hang in the sky, just as surely as the moon shines, and just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow. One day you’ll have a moment when you’re stuck in traffic and think back to the days when your mind was urging you to end it. Suddenly you’ll break out in tears because of how strong you were to keep going. It’s an amazing feeling. Open up, reach out, and talk to someone. You’ll be surprised how the weight just shifts off your shoulders.
If you’re someone who was once suicidal how did you get through it? If you helped someone get through it, what did you do? What do you recommend? I diligently await your answers in the comments!
Grohol, J. (2007). Common Signs of Someone Who May be Suicidal.Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/10/08/common-signs-of-someone-who-may-be-suicidal/
Pain Isn’t always Obvious. (n.d.). Retrieved December 5, 2014, from http://www.suicideispreventable.org/
SAVE. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved December 5, 2014, from http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=705E1907-C4DD-5D32-2C7087CE5924CCA4
Suicide Help. (n.d.). Retrieved December 5, 2014, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-help-dealing-with-your-suicidal-thoughts-and-feelings.htm
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