While I have not had thoughts of suicide, I have been in deep emotional pain. Truly, I reached out for help; but, sadly, I found a lot of condemning and judgment from my friends and loved ones because they expected me to be stronger than my problems. They didn’t realize that I was utilizing strength by seeking for help.
When we cut people off, chastise them for their heartache, become judgmental, we are adding to the persons grief. They already feel bad due to what they are going through; we make them feel worse when we become condemning.
Please be mindful, compassionate, and sympathetic when dealing with people when they open up about their heartache.
Here are warning signs to watch for if you fear someone is suicidal and resources that can help those thinking of harming themselves or who fear a loved one might harm themselves.
• Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
• Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
• Talking or writing about death, dying, ”ending the pain” or suicide.
• Feeling hopeless.
• Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking.
• Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out.
• Increasing alcohol or drug use.
• Withdrawing from friends, family, social support and society.
• Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time.
• Experiencing significant mood changes.
• Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
• Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
HOW TO HELP
• Ask the person directly if he or she is having suicidal thoughts, has a plan to do so, and has access to lethal means.
• If you think the person might harm him- or herself, do not leave the person alone.
• TAKE SERIOUSLY all suicide threats and all past suicide attempts, even if he or she minimizes your concerns.
• Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
• Be willing to listen AND BE NON-JUDGMENTAL. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life or whether suicide is viewed by some as a sinful, selfish or angry act.
• Respect that suicidal feelings are most likely related to ending emotional or psychological pain.
• Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support. Take into account other trusted friends, family members or allies who can be a part of a supportive team.
• Don’t dare him or her to do it.
• Don’t act shocked. This may translate as criticism or judgment and weaken trust between you.
• Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Acknowledge that all suicidal risk is to be taken seriously and firmly and gently explain that you are seeking support.
• Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
• Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
• Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
This piece was taken from AL – an online Alabama newspaper. Sadly, a nine year old girl was the victim of suicide. Follow the story here.