- Suicide never only affects the person that committed it.
- It affects everyone who knew the person too.
- But many suicides can be prevented if the warning signs are recognized and proper action is taken.
Have a look at the warning signals closely:
- Recent loss of a loved one (death or divorce).
- Survivor of a previous suicide attempt.
- Loss of prestige (could be loss of job or business).
- Serious illness (chronic pain or exhaustion with no end in sight).
- Exhaustion of resources - could be real or imaginary (money or credit lines).
- Family history of suicide.
- A close friend commits suicide.
- Talking or writing about death
- Giving signs or signals of suicide through communication
- Giving away personal possessions.
- Change in behaviors.
- Freefalling grades.
- Ending close relationships.
- Crying a lot.
- Buying weapons, pills, etc.
- Reading a lot about suicide.
- Emotionally Unstable
- Sense of personal failure.
- Overwhelming sadness.
- General lack of interest.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
- Guilt Trip / Presence of Guilt
- Feelings of being a burden to others.
One of the worst things for a person contemplating suicide is feeling that no one understands or cares about him or her. These people are often extremely frustrated over talking with friends and family only to find that they are placated with statements like, "Oh, you'll feel better soon - this too shall pass." Suicidal people feel like they've been trying to tell others how much pain they are in, but nobody hears them. The key to helping is to help this person stop feeling invisible. Though it seems counter-intuitive, saying, "Are you thinking of killing yourself now? Do you have a plan for doing it?" can bring tremendous relief to someone like this. They can feel that, at last, someone has heard them clearly. This is so hard to believe, but it is true.
Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. The person will pick up on your attitude and begin to mirror this.
Don't be afraid to ask, "Are you having thoughts of suicide?" You are not putting ideas in their head. This will give you some valuable information about how to proceed in helping him.
- If the person you are talking with confesses to contemplating suicide right at that moment, and also says s/he has a plan in mind for doing it, you need to figure out how serious s/he is and get all the information you can so whatever help you send is the best it can be:
- Ask: Does s/he have a weapon? Is it with him or her?
- If it's pills, what kind? Where are those pills right now?
- Has s/he thought about this before this moment? Recurring ideas about doing away with oneself point to a very serious threat.
- Having ideas (especially ones they have been entertaining awhile), a plan, and the means to commit suicide constitute a very serious, immediate danger, and you should contact police immediately. If you're on the phone, it's best not to let this person know that's what you're doing though. Ideally, you will have a friend on your end who can quietly go and make the calls to send help to the suicidal person while you stay on the line and try to console or otherwise at least delay the person until help arrives. If you are alone, try to use another phone, if possible, to text someone and get them to help. If you are physically with the suicidal person, it's a little easier, because suicides rarely happen with someone else present. Staying with the person until s/he sleeps or calms down some is recommended.