Discover How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal …
According to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people die each year of suicide. This is the equivalent of one person about every 40 seconds. With these astonishing statistics, it’s no wonder suicide prevention has drawn attention in recent years. In many cases, if individuals were able to seek help or those around them were able to identify the warning signs, this rate could be significantly decreased. If you learn how to help a suicidal friend or family member, you can make a difference and help lower the suicide rate around the world.
Why Do People Consider Committing Suicide?
Understanding why a person feels they need to end their life can help you learn how to help someone who is suicidal. For some people, suicidal thoughts are the direct result of a mental illness. In these situations, proper mental health care is one of the best ways to help them overcome these feelings. Unfortunately, some mental health medications can also increase the incidence of suicidal thoughts, which makes proper medical intervention essential. However, mental illness isn’t the only cause of suicidal thoughts.
For some people, these thoughts are highly conflicting in their minds. They may be going through a rough time in their lives and don’t know how to handle it. Bullying is a common cause of these feelings as well. This is why it’s so important for parents to pay close attention to what is going on in their child’s life so they can step in and intervene when necessary. Often, with the right support, those who are thinking about ending their lives may rethink their plan. In many cases, these individuals simply need support from the people around them.
What Constitutes Suicidal Feelings?
The most common idea of what suicidal feelings are is the thinking that life isn’t worth living any more. While this may be the most common reason for suicide, there are actually other thoughts and feelings that can be considered suicidal in nature. These include:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feeling things won’t get better
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having low self-esteem
- Anger at oneself
- Feelings of isolation
- Indecision whether you should live or die
If someone you know is experiencing any of these feelings, it’s important to reach out and try to make a difference in their lives. Putting someone on an unofficial suicide watch can help the individual overcome the hurdles in their life and go on to enjoy life to its fullest.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: Recognizing a Need for Help
One of the most important steps in getting someone the help they need to overcome their suicidal feelings and prevent a suicide attempt is to recognize the need for help. While some suicides are a surprise to friends and loved ones, many people who are contemplating suicide often reach out to those around them before they make an attempt. It’s their way of reaching out for help and determining if they really mean something to their friends and loved ones. For this reason, it’s important to take every suicide threat seriously. It can be difficult to determine if someone is serious and it’s best to take precautions when they aren’t necessary than to not reach out to help and the worst happen.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: Start By Asking Questions
If someone you know is acting suicidal or talking about it, the first step is to ask questions to help them think through the process and to help you gauge the level of the threat. Some of the questions you should ask include:
- How are you dealing with life’s problems?
- Do you feel like giving up?
- Are you thinking about death?
- Do you want to hurt yourself?
- Are you thinking about suicide?
- Have you thought about how to commit suicide?
- Do you have what you need to do it?
- Do you have a timeline?
Someone who is seriously considering suicide will have clear ideas on how and when to carry through the plan. The more detailed the plan, the more serious the risk. This can also help you gauge whether you can help your friend or family member or if professional assistance is needed.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: Watch for Common Warning Signs
Many people who are considering suicide will show clear signs of this option, whether they intend to or not. While talking about suicide is a huge red flag, there are others you should watch for. Some of these signs include:
- Purchasing the means to commit suicide
- Withdrawal from others
- Changes to normal routine
- Reckless and destructive behavior
- Giving away personal items
- Personality changes
- Saying goodbye to those around them
If someone you know exhibits any of these signs, it’s time to ask questions and reach out for help.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: Offer Words of Encouragement
People who are thinking about committing suicide often feel like there is no other way. They may feel no one cares about them and life isn’t worth living. One of the first steps you can take is to offer words of encouragement and help the individuals see that life circumstances aren’t as bad as they may seem. Let the person know you are there for them and willing to listen and help them handle whatever comes their way. Sometimes knowing someone really does care is enough to help them overcome their thoughts.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: Don’t Leave the Individual Alone
Perhaps the most important part in knowing how to help someone who is suicidal is to make sure he or she is never left alone. When surrounded by people who care, even if it’s just one person, the individual will not have the chance to carry through on their thoughts. If someone is serious about committing suicide, professional help is often necessary, but until that point, you need to make sure someone is there at all times. Not only does this prevent the person from taking action, but it also shows them that their life means something to someone else.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: When Should You Seek Professional Help
Sometimes knowing how to help a suicidal friend isn’t enough to stop the actions, especially if the suicidal thoughts are caused by mental illness. In these situations, it’s important to find out how to reach out for professional help. Depending on the state of the suicidal individual, getting professional help may not be easy. Many countries around the world offer suicide prevention hotlines that can be a useful asset both for the suicidal individual and their support system. The International Association for Suicide Prevention can also provide valuable information and resources you can turn to so you can get your friend or family member the help they need.
If someone is experiencing severe suicidal thoughts and is unwilling to call a suicide prevention hotline or seek help from online resources, a trip to the emergency room may be in order. In situations where danger is imminent, particularly if there has already been a suicide attempt, calling 911 may be necessary. The primary goal is to get the individual professional help as quickly as possible to prevent the threat and help them gain a new outlook on life.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: Be There for the Individual
Overcoming suicidal thoughts can be a long process. Many individuals who have considered suicide are at an increased risk for suicide attempts in the future. For this reason, it may be necessary to put someone under an unofficial suicide watch, especially during the recovery period. While it’s important to be there for a suicidal individual from the start, showing your support during the recovery period is a necessity for a successful recovery. Because many suicide attempts are caused by temporary situations that will improve over time, getting to the recovery stage is a major milestone. One of the best things you can do is always let the person know you are there for them, no matter what, opening the lines of communication.
How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal: What to Avoid
Now that you know how to help someone who is suicidal, it’s important to learn what you should avoid so you don’t make the situation worse. First and foremost, never argue with a suicidal individual. Don’t act shocked or lecture the individual on the value of life. Some individuals will confide in you on the condition of secrecy. Never promise to keep the information a secret because this can lead to carrying out the actions. In addition, don’t blame yourself and avoid trying to fix the problem. Many times, you can’t fix the problem anyway and trying to do so may make it seem like you are minimizing the issues.
Suicide has become a serious problem. Without the right help, many people aren’t able to overcome these feelings and fall victim to suicide, leaving behind family and friends who will carry the pain for the rest of their lives. When you learn how to help someone who has suicidal feelings, you can make a difference in someone’s life and assist them in getting the help they need. You can be the one who helps someone see that death isn’t always the best answer.