Showing care and concern towards someone who is contemplating or threatening suicide could ultimately change the outcome of their decision. Many times, their threats are an outcry for help or an attempt to voice their feelings in the only way they know how. Ask if they are OK. Though this seems like a logical question to ask, it is many times a question that is overlooked because of its simplicity. Asking is someone is OK can open the door for them to express their feelings in a safe non-judgemental environment. Letting someone who is feeling disconnected to the rest of the world know you are there to talk, and that you care for them could save a life.
10 Ways to Help Someone that is Threatening Suicide
- Be aware, and know the warning signs
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support in them and their life.
- Be direct, and talk open and freely. Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
- Be willing to listen. Allow for expression of feelings. Accept the feelings. Be non-judgmental. Don’t’ debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Don’t dare him/her to do it.
- Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.
- Don’t ask ‘why’. This encourages defensiveness.
- Offer empathy, not sympathy.
- Don’t act shocked. This creates distance.
- Seek Support. Don’t’ be sworn to secrecy. Instead, offer hope that alternatives are available such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more detailed ways to help someone that is threatening suicide, contact a specialist who can guide you.
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