It is highly likely that at some point in everybody’s life they may come across somebody who’s suicidal. This is the best way to help:
It is important that you listen, and do so without any judgement and acknowledging everything they are saying. Give your complete attention.
Show that you care
This can be done by what you say, how you say it and body language. Let them know that you care about them, what they are going through and how they are feeling. Offer compassion, empathy and concern.
Do not belittle
Take whatever they are saying seriously and do not belittle whatever they are saying because it is their reality. Be respectful of the individual and do not make jokes or take what they say lightly.
The person that you may be talking to might be distressed, be calm, and help them soothe their stressors. Don’t become alarmed or shocked about what they say or do. If you need help do reach out to one of their family members or friends or take the person to the nearest hospital.
Do not leave them alone
Make sure that you don’t leave them on their own till they have calmed down and assure you that they will not harm themselves. Ideally, wait till a family member, friend or colleague comes and collects them. Do follow-up after the episode.
Don’t offer advice
Your job is not to fix their problems by offering solutions. We can’t claim to understand what the person is going through and definitely aren’t professionally equipped to offer advice.
Don’t promise confidentiality
Individuals who are suicidal might tell you to keep it a secret. Don’t promise to keep it confidential. But communicate that with care and concern letting them know that you will only talk about this with a family member, friend or a mental health professional.
Recovery and follow-up
Offer to make an appointment with mental health professional and give them information on where they can seek help. Also follow-up on the person to check and see how they are doing.
Interested in fighting suicide and helping people out. SPIF is offering a online course to learn about how to recognize signs of suicide, respond to somebody who’s suicidal and referring them to the right places.
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