What can I do if I someone I know is suicidal?
Always take suicidal comments very seriously. When a person says that he or she is thinking about suicide, consider them to be displaying signs of an impending suicide. Get professional help immediately.
If someone tells you that you need to keep his or her suicidal intentions a secret, never agree. Under no circumstances can you keep a secret that could cause someone's death. You would be responsible for allowing them to die if you kept it secret, something that can haunt you for the rest of your life. Instead, take the steps necessary to prevent a suicide.
- Try not to act shocked. The person is already highly distressed, and if you are visibly shocked by what is said, the person will become even more stressed and highly strung. Stay calm.
- Listen attentively to everything that the person has to say. Let the person talk as much as he or she wants to. Listen closely so that you can be as supportive as possible, and learn as much as possible about what is causing the suicidal feelings.
- Comfort the person with words of encouragement. Use common sense to offer words of support. Be as gentle and caring as possible.
- Let the person know that you are deeply concerned. Tell the person that you are concerned, and show them that you are concerned.
- Do not be judgmental. Do not invalidate anything that the person says or feels. Be supportive and caring, not judgmental, but get help immediately. The help can be in the form of family members or friends, as long as they don't play a part in the cause for the suicidal intentions, else an emergency worker or therapist would also be helpful.
- If the person is at a high risk of suicide, do not leave him or her alone, not even for a second.
- After the person has received help and is no longer critically suicidal, help him or her make an appointment with a health worker and/or a therapist. Suicidal feelings need to be dealt with on a professional level. Only trained professions should assume the care for the person.