Dealing with a suicidal person

Depression is the number one leading cause of suicide in the world. The saddest thing is that individuals who commit suicide are not trying to kill themselves per say, are just trying to find a way to stop hurting. Dealing with suicidal persons is very difficult, whether you are a professional working at a help line or a family member, trying to help a loved one. Preventing suicide has much to do with understanding suicidal behavior, which generally refers to feeling so much pain that the respective individual is not capable of seeing any other option. Understanding that pain and talking about that pain is an essential step in dealing with a suicidal person. Most suicidal persons are inclined to give warning signs, as a desperate attempt to reach for help. Recognizing these signs is also of the essence, as it is responding to them properly. They can range from self destructive behavior and feelings of worthlessness to a sudden sense of calm or getting affairs in order.

There are several misconceptions about suicide and suicidal behavior, most of which can really affect one’s ability to help a person. The most common of them is the false myth that people who express their thoughts and intentions of suicide will never go through with it. Even if such statements are said with the impression of a joke or casually, no suicide threat should be ignored. Another misconception refers to labeling all persons who commit suicide as crazy, psychotic or mentally unbalanced. This is not true. All it takes for a person to become suicidal is despair, overly depressed and the feeling that nothing will ever be resolved, as well as extreme emotional pain, which are not signs of mental disorders. A lot of people also seem to think that once a suicidal individual has set his or her mind, nothing can be done. There is plenty that can be done to stop someone from killing themselves, up until the very last minute. The right words, the right support, the right persons, anything can help them overcome the impulse of ending it all.

There have been numerous studies on suicide victims that showed more than 50% of these individuals actually sought medical help before their desperate gesture. So, suicidal persons are willing to ask for help, it is just very delicate and difficult to help them. There is also the misconception that if you talk to someone about suicide, you may give that person ideas. It is exactly the contrary. Suicidal persons already have the ideas, talking about it openly and sincerely can only help them. To that extent, as mentioned above, it is important to pay attention to the warning signs and recognize them as early as possible. These may include seeking access to lethal means, such as pills, guns and other such items, an unusual focus on death, the process of dying or violence in general, having no hope for the future and expressing feelings of helplessness, as well as self loathing or self hatred.