By: Honey Good
Having lived through a family suicide I say, “If only one of us had known the warning signs.” Unfortunately we were very unprepared for such an act. I have searched the Internet so that I can share with you common misconceptions, warning signs, a few sentences that may help the person open up and things we should not say.
Hopefully I will help some of you who have the inkling that there may be a problem in your family. Awareness, knowledge and action are your key in trying to save a life.
- “People who talk about suicide don't not really do it.”
False: Almost everyone who commits or attempts to commit suicide has given some clue. Don’t ignore suicide threats such as, “I can’t see my way out” or “you’ll be sorry when I am dead,” even casually or jokingly. It may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
- “That person is crazy.”
False: Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane.
- “If a person is determined to take their life, nothing is going to stop him or her.”
False. Even the most depressed person has mixed feelings about their death and waiver up until the last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop.
- “People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”
False: Studies among adult suicide victims have shown that over half have sought medical help within one month of their death.
- “Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”
False: You don’t give a suicidal person an idea by talking about suicide. The opposite is true.
RECOGNIZE THE WARNING SIGNS
- Sudden mood change
- Giving away possessions
- Talking about death
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Failure to take care of himself
STARTING A CONVERSATION
“I noticed you have mentioned feeling hopeless. Let’s talk.”
Don’t be afraid to ask: “Are you thinking about suicide.”
“Do you have any weapons or prescription drugs in the house?”
“I love you or I care about you. I will find help for you. I will go with you.”
WORDS NOT TO BE SAID
1. You're not thinking about suicide are you? Don’t ask in a way that indicates you want ‘no’ for your answer.
2. Never say, “Fine! If you want to be selfish go ahead and kill yourself.” This is the most dangerous sentence you can say through your frustration.
3. Avoid any promise of secrets. Don’t say, “Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me.” Instead say, “I care about you too much to keep a secret. I am here to help you.”
IF YOU FEEL THE SITUATION IS CRITICAL, TAKE THE PERSON TO A NEARBY EMERGENCY ROOM, CALL 911 OR 1.800.273.8255