Suicide: Silence Has Deadly Results
For people contemplating ending their life, suicide may seem like the only option available if they are unable to open up and talk about the issues contributing to their feelings of despair and hopelessness.
Friends and loved ones who are afraid or unable to talk to a person considering suicide cannot reach out and help him or her realize that there are other solutions.
Getting someone to talk about their innermost feelings – particularly ones that may contribute to suicidal thoughts – isn’t easy. Sharing concerns about a friend or loved one who may be considering a desperate act can be extremely uncomfortable, too. But to prevent suicide, silence is not an option.
If you think someone you know is considering committing suicide, getting them to open up and talk about their feelings is vital to getting them to change their course. Convincing someone who is considering suicide to talk can be difficult, as feelings of guilt and shame may be keeping them from reaching out for help. But by demonstrating that you care and that you’re available can help them make that important step.
Simply asking them how they’re doing may be enough to get them to talk. For others, a more direct approach may be the best bet. If a friend, family member or co-worker has made statements you feel threaten suicide, asking them directly about these statements may compel them to open up and begin talking about their feelings of despair and allow you to encourage them to seek help. Direct confrontation is never easy, but it is sometimes necessary to prevent a needless death.
Learning To Listen
If you do talk to someone who is considering taking their life talking, what you say back to them and how you listen is important. The following are a few tips for providing the support and encouragement that a friend or loved one having suicidal thoughts needs.
- Be respectful of their feelings. Although a person considering suicide may be having irrational thoughts or feelings, those thoughts and feelings are very much real to that person. Acknowledge what that person has to say, while encouraging more positive thoughts and feelings. Do not act shocked or outraged by what your friend or loved one has to say.
- Reassure your friend or loved one, and let them know that you’re there to help, not to judge. Getting them to open up was hard enough, don’t slam the door shut with judgmental or dismissive statements.
- Encourage healthier habits. If your friend or loved one uses drugs or alcohol, encourage them to get help and stop, as these substances can cause emotional instability that can lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings. Ask your friend or loved one to join you for exercise or other, more healthy activities.
- Persuade them to seek professional counseling. Your help can only go so far. To deal with the underlying issues, particularly biochemical ones, that may be causing your friend or loved one to contemplate suicide, he or she needs the aid of a professional mental health care provider. Organisations such as the Penrith Suicide Prevention and Support Network can provide the professional care needed to help resolve the feelings of despair and helplessness that may be pushing a friend or loved one over the edge.
By talking with someone who’s considering suicide, silence – suicide’s greatest ally – can be beaten and your friend or loved one can find a better way to resolve his or her problems.
If you would like information about how to get help please go here to our resources page.