Suicide is a heartbreaking finality that no family or community should ever have to deal with. Not only does suicide leave irreparable scars on those who are left behind, but it also represents a lost opportunity to find help and support for someone who was suffering through insurmountable personal problems.
Suicides can be prevented, but only through education and support. Knowing some of the most effective suicide prevention and assistance tips will empower you to help someone in need, and avoid a tragedy that is responsible for 1.3% of all deaths, worldwide.
Suicide Prevention and Assistance Tips
You don’t have to be a trained professional to help anyone in a deep state of depression or any mindset that leads to self-harm. If you suspect someone is considering suicide, these are steps and helpful thoughts that will help you to intervene, and potentially save a life.
- Never Dismiss the Feelings of a Suicidal Person
It can be difficult to place yourself in the mind of someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts. However what you must never do, is dismiss their feelings as trivial. When assisting someone who is suicidal, listening and showing empathy and compassion is the best approach. In many cases, suicide is a final solution because those at risk feel like they are without options or help. Allow them to see otherwise.
- Encourage Professional Help for Depression
Even if you can prevent suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt, without the right help, that person may relapse to their former state of mind. Professional help is necessary for anyone who has been close to, or has attempted suicide. Encourage your friend or family member to get professional help, and help them to find treatment options.
- Don’t Shy Away From the Topic of Suicide
It can be healthy for the person to express their suicidal thoughts in a safe environment. No matter how much these thoughts may scare you or hurt you, it is important to listen to and acknowledge them. This can even be an opening for them to talk to you about more of their feelings, and the root cause of their depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Listen, Listen, and Listen Again
Listening is one of the best things that you can do when preventing suicide and assisting someone that you care about. Venting their pain and frustration is absolutely natural, and if they trust you enough to do so, it is imperative that you allow them to speak, without dismissing their feelings or reinterpreting their thoughts with your own feedback.
- Don’t Leave Them Alone
If you perceive the suicide risk to be real, even if you have just intervened and prevented a suicide attempt, it is important that you don’t leave the person alone. They may enter a stable state of mind while you are with them, only to revert when they are left again with their own thoughts. Suicide attempts and near suicide attempts should be immediately referred to the appropriate health professionals, who can provide expert assistance and monitoring. Until that time, stay with the person that you care about.
- Don’t Keep Secrets
In many cases, someone who has attempted suicide will ask you to keep the incident a secret. Although your thoughts will be divided between loyalty and finding the right help, the most important thing is that professional help is made available. Secrets can cause suicides. The person may still have suicidal thoughts while putting you at ease, only so that they can attempt suicide without intervention. Even if you have to lie to them while you arrange the right treatment, that will ultimately be the best thing for their safety and mental health.
Suicide Prevention Takes Willingness, Understanding, and Strength
Learning that someone you care about is suicidal, can cause significant emotional distress within yourself. At a time like this, understanding and strength must prevail, so that you can give your full attention to someone who is in dire need of support.
This year, almost half a million people in the United States will visit an emergency room for injuries resulting from self-harm. As sad as this figure is, it’s not as tragic as the almost 50,000 who die from suicide related injuries. You can help to prevent suicide. Taking the above steps and seeking the right professional help will allow you to help someone live through depression, and work their way towards a stable and happy life.