Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Suicide Sucks!

What to do if you suspect someone may be contemplating suicide:
1. Be aware of the warning signs.
2. Be available. Show interest and support.
3. Be willing to listen. Allow expression of feelings. Reflect feelings accurately.
4. Offer empathy, not sympathy.
5. Be non-judgmental; even if you feel strongly that suicide is going against God’s will.
6. Show calm confidence—you are going to help.
7. Be direct. Ask them openly if they are thinking of suicide. Discuss the idea directly and honestly.
8. If they say they are thinking of suicide, ask the following:
• “Do you have a plan?” If YES, ask when, how, with what, where?
• “Can you act on the plan now?” Are the means available?
• “Have you attempted suicide before?” If YES, ask when, how, with what, where?
• “What problem is your suicide designed to solve?”
• “Who have you tried to talk about this with besides me? Did they listen? “Who may I contact who can be supportive to you right now when you are in so much pain?”
9. Offer hope that alternatives are available. However, be careful not to offer empty reassurances. It only proves you don’t understand.
10. Help is available. Let them know it.
11. Let them know that you genuinely care what happens to them. You might say something like; “I care what happens to you very much. I DON’T WANT YOU TO DIE!”
12. Try to obtain a “contract” (a promise) from him/her to not take any action.
13. Take action. If they have a plan, do not leave them alone. Get help.
14. Finally, if the person has a plan and cannot make a contract for safety, hospitalize.

What not to do if you suspect someone is contemplating suicide:
1. Don’t minimize the problem.
2. Don’t try to argue them out of it.
3. Don’t tell them they will feel better tomorrow.
4. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or if feelings are good or bad. Now is not the time for a lecture on the value and purpose of life.
5. Don’t give advice by telling them what they should do.
6. Don’t’ ask “why?” This encourages defensiveness.
7. Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
8. Don’t be sworn to secrecy. NEVER promise to keep it a secret. Threats of suicide and confidentiality cannot coexist.

Communication Barriers (things NOT to say)
• “That’s no reason to kill yourself.”
• “You shouldn’t talk like that.”
• “You will feel differently tomorrow.”
• “Just forget about it.”
• “You shouldn’t feel that way.”
• “You’ve got so much going for you that others don’t have.”
• “You’re only thinking of yourself.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Richard