This years theme- Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.
How does one recognize someone might be suicidal?
Here is a graphic representing some of the warning signs. Most people who are suicidal have some sort of ambivalance about it and will give hints, hoping someone can help them or talk to them. Most people won’t go right out and say “I’m suicidal” but you may hear things like “I wish I was dead” “What’s the point of living” “Things would be better off if I was dead” or similar statements. I think it’s okay to directly ask if the person is feeling suicidal and then have a conversation about it. Part of reaching out and saving lives is noticing the warning signs and talking about it.
How can you help prevent a suicide?
Have a conversation. Listen! Listen! Listen! It’s alright to ask questions to get an idea of how serious they are and how much help they might need. If you notice it is beyond what a sympathetic ear and restatements of why to live, it is recommended you get further help. Depending on the state of the suicidal person (some people may be rather depressed and have little energy or motivation to search out resources), it may be helpful to stand with them along the way. Give them a suicide hotline number instead of just suggesting they search the internet for one. Help them in finding a therapist and/or psychiatrist to talk to. Go with them to the emergency room, visit them if they need to be hospitalized. Ask for updates about how they are feeling and how their suicidal thoughts are. Keep an interest and show that you are willing to talk about it and to help them get support, then do it. Often suicidal thoughts return and it’s great if they think they have someone to talk to who has been helpful before.
- Promise confidentiality
- Dare them to do it, or dismiss their feelings/thoughts
- Tell them they’ll go to hell, that it’s a sin, selfish, or any other guilt tripping
- Gossip about it to other friends or acquaintance, you may need to tell professionals or family.
- Leave them alone, try to stay with them or make sure they have someone around them.
Crisis Phone Numbers and Websites:
National Suicide Hotlines in the USA- 24 hours a day/7 days a week- Toll Free
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
The Trevor Project- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention for LGBT Youth- Free- 24 hours a day/7 days a week
Trans Lifeline- Transgender Suicide hotline
Crisis Text Support Line
Local Emergency Services
Call 911 or go to local emergency room
You can also search online for crisis services that may have information on your specific state, chat crisis if you do not use the phone, deaf service phone numbers, and other resources.
American Association of Suicidology www.suicidology.org (also provides listings of state-by-state suicide crisis lines).