There might come a time when you are faced with an impossible situation, a friend or family member tells you that they are suicidal. Even worse is a situation that I have encountered in my life–a friend, knowing my history, asked me to help them commit suicide. What do you do?
When a person says that they are suicidal take it seriously. Suicide is a serious and what it takes to let your thoughts go down to the darkest places is something that warrants knowing what to do in these situations.
The first thing you can do is to tell that person that it will be okay, that people all over the world have gotten to a place where they believe that suicide is the only answer. Let them know that there are resources right away, and the biggest is the suicide hotline:
The National Suicide Hotline. 1-800-273-8255
If you are outside the United States you can look up international suicide hotlines that can help someone you love. These places are designed to help people who are in emergency situations—I consider suicidal thoughts as one of those emergency situations.
Asking the Right Questions
It is essential to find out the level of suicide your loved one is and if he/she is in a place where they will act on their suicidal feelings. Suicidal thoughts and feelings can quickly move into suicidal action, though you might not be a professional you can ask questions to determine where he/she is at the moment. The following I took from Mayo Clinic Website with questions you should ask:
- • How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
- • Do you ever feel like just giving up?
- • Are you thinking about dying?
- • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
- • Do you think about suicide?
- • Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?
- • Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
- • Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?
Looking for Warning signs
There are plenty of warning signs that your family member or friend might act on their suicidal thoughts. When someone is talking about suicide saying things like “I want to die” or “I wish I hadn’t been born” are signs that things are bad. A preoccupation with death or suicide is another indicator that I had in my own life. There are many signs, and I implore that you research the critical signs of suicide if you believe a loved one is planning to commit suicide.
Asking them to Seek Help
This where things can get tricky. The first thing I recommend is to ask your family member or friend to seek professional help (this is tricky because seeking help on your own is often impossible.) But, you have to be able to make the hard choice—if he/she is suicidal, you have to call 9-1-1 or immediately take them to the hospital. It is better to be safe than sorry. Your friend or family member may hate you, I know I did when my family called the authorities on me a number of times, but if its life or death– chose life.
Always Keep Fighting