Suicide- How to help a dejected friend.

Suicide- the intentional taking of one's own life.

Many people see suicide as an act of escaping the pain that they feel, maybe as a last resort.

Fact: An average of 1 person every 16 minutes completes suicide.
It is the 11th leading cause of death in the USA, and the 3rd leading cause of death for young people 15 to 24. Out of every 10 people that have committed suicide, 8 have told people about their intentions. And that's why you need to help.

In a survey took in 2005 by Massachusetts Public High School students (3,522 total):
27% felt sad or hopeless for 2 weeks or more
19% hurt or injured themselves
13% have seriously considered suicide
12% had planned suicide
6% have attempted suicide
2% of the attempts have resulted in needing medical attention

As you can see, the numbers are shocking. But there is something you can do to help.

The Risk Factors
-A family history of suicide
-Previous suicide attempts
-Physical illness
-Physical, sexual, domestic, or child abuse
-Relational, social, work, or financial loss
-Impulse and/or aggressive behavior
-Suffering from mental disorders
-Special Education students
-Homeless students
-Different sexuality than peers (i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual)
-Students who binge drink or use drugs
-Involved in violence

As you see, the person who has gone through these things must have a lot of built up anger, resentment, and sadness. Which shows:

How they feel
-Depressed
-Confused
-Isolated
-Worthless
-Out Of Control
-Overwhelmed
-Helpless

Which, in turn, leads to the usual:

Warning Signs
-Obsession with suicide/death
-Verbal statements, such as "I want to kill myself" or "Nobody would miss me when I'm gone"
-Behavioral changes
-Diet changes (loosing/gaining weight quickly)
-Unexplained cuts/bruises
-Changes in sleeping habits
-Not caring about appearance
-Does not hang out with friends/withdraws from social activities
-Takes risks (most unnecessary)
-Use of alcohol and/or drugs
-Gives away possessions
-Visiting/calling people close to them frequently

Being their friend, you might feel bad, or wonder how you can help, so here you go:

Three Steps To Help A Suicidal Friend
1. Listen
2. Ask
3. Get help

Listen.

Listening to your friend will help them feel like somebody cares about them, gives them a sense of control, and helps to feel connected to somebody.

Please DO:
-Show that you care and that you are glad to talk to them
-Give them your attention
-Ask them questions to understand their feelings better

DON'T:
-Try to solve their problems
-Give them unwanted advice.
-Say their actions/feelings are wrong/unimportant
-Tell them about your problems.

Ask.

Asking them questions about their feelings/them planning suicide can be scary and tricky. It's important, though, because you want to get them help if they are serious about suicide, and will help save their life. It can give them a place to vent about their feelings, and that you are concerned about them.

Ask directly:
Don't beat around the bush. Ask questions like "Do you feel so bad that you think about committing suicide?", and "It sounds like things are pretty tough for you and I care about you. Are you thinking about suicide?"

If they say "yes":
Be calm. If it makes you feel scared or mad, please don't let it show. In these type of situations, you should keep calm and keep listening.
Ask them:
"Have you thought about how you might kill yourself?"
If yes, ask:
"Do you already have that?"
If also yes, ask
"Have you thought about when you would do this?"

If they say "no":
Keep listening to them. Don't let it show that you are happy or relieved about them not committing suicide. They might feel uncomfortable talking to you then, or think you don't care about them anymore.

Get Help.
Anyone can feel suicidal, and they need help. However, the feeling doesn't last forever. Getting them help when they need it can save a life, Never try to help the person by yourself. Instead, get help from:
-A counselor/therapist
-A teacher/guidance teacher
-The hospital emergency room
-A nurse/doctor
-Suicide preventions hotlines/websites

You should talk to the helpers yourself to get support, but it is important that the suicidal person talks directly with these people. Such things to remember:
-If the first person you try isn't helpful, try another person.
-If the suicidal person doesn't want to/refuses to get help, tell somebody immediately. It's better to have a mad friend than a dead one.

In emergency situations:
-Stay calm. You may feel scared/in over your head, but the suicidal person feels even more so.
-Don't leave the person. If you aren't with them, get somebody to be with them or go to them yourself. Most people don't commit suicide unless alone.
-Call 911, or your local emergency hotline.


Thanks for reading this, it's my first blog.

I got my information at http://www.samaritanshope.org/
Posted on March 21st, 2008 at 07:49pm

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