DOs and DON’Ts When Interacting With A Suicidal Person

Depression, fear and anxiety are the most common reasons why someone considers committing a suicide. It is often that people who are going through difficult times are around us, yet what would be the best way to help them and therefore help the entire society?

On the World Suicide Prevention Day, we encourage everyone to share inner peace by becoming a listener to those in need. This kind action can save a life! Here are some helpful tips to remember when talking to a suicidal person:

DO:
• Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. Caring actions are more important than finding perfect words.

• Listen. Let the suicidal person share their story and feelings, no matter how negative.

• Be empathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.

• Offer hope. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you and that help is available.

• Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.

DON’T:
• Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or “Look on the bright side.”

• Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.

• Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe.

• Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.

• Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.

Source: Metanoia.org

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