How can I help a suicidal person?
Listen, listen, and listen.
Have a lot of patience and be understanding. Consider someone’s problem that seams minor to you, can be another person’s reason for suicide. Take it serious!
Asking for concrete thoughts and plans of suicide can help to identify how vulnerable the person is.
A quiet and direct conversation can relieve the person at risk, because he*she can talk to somebody about the excruciating suicide thoughts.
It is very important for yourself, to get help and assistance, and not to remain alone with the problems. Accompany the person concerned to a service organization, doctor or therapist.
What does a suicidal person dislike?
Through denial a problem can appear even worse. Having another person close by helps to not feel alone and shows a different side of the story.
Indoctrination is not helping. Advices such as “Cheer up” or “Everything is going to be okay” are not helpful either. Avoid to analyze, to compare, to categorize, and to criticize.
Do not change the topic, do not pity the other person and do not be condescending. Talking about feelings is not easy. People with suicidal intentions do not want to be pressured nor do they want to be put in a defensive position.
People who are tired of life do not necessarily only look for answers or solutions. They crave for a secure place, in which they can show their fears and worries, in which they can be their selves. Listening, really listening, is not easy.
We have to pull ourselves together not to present an answer right away, to not give a comment, to not start talking, telling a story or giving an advice.
We do not only have to act on the facts given by the concerned person, but also react on his*her feelings.
People who talk about suicide do not suicide themselves. Those people, who really want to kill themselves, do not usually talk about it.
Wrong! About 80% of all suicides are announced beforehand.
Who once thought about suicide will always think about it.
Wrong! Especially for young people the thought of self-harm or suicide can indicate an acute crisis, which can be overcome alone or with external support.
To address possible suicide thoughts of a person just makes him*her come up with the idea.
Wrong! People who are not at risk, will not suicide themselves when you approach the topic. Those people who are at risk usually feel relieved being able to talk about it.
In case of emergency
In case of emergency call the ambulance under 112.