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Most people with serious depression want to escape their stressful and hopeless life by attempting suicide. The pain can be so overwhelming that they can’t see any way to manage other than taking their own life. (Shutterstock/*)
In most cases, people who are suicidal won’t ask for help. They have given up on living and are not likely to tell you something is wrong before it’s too late.
To help a friend in time, you should look for warning signs and find ways to be proactive.
Recognize the warning signs
Before stopping someone from attempting suicide, you should understand the warning signs of suicide and know how to prevent it.
The main reason of suicide is depression or other mental disorders. In some cases, suicidal thoughts can be caused by a traumatic event. Most people with serious depression want to escape their stressful and hopeless life by attempting suicide. The pain can be so overwhelming that they can’t see any way to manage other than taking their own life.
If you have a friend that is thinking about suicide, they may have feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness and isolation. They start to talk about death and gradually isolate themselves from others. You should notice your friend’s behavior and see if they have recently bought unusual items such as a gun, rope or drugs.
Normally, it does not take much time for people who have thoughts of suicide to stop their life. Therefore, the sooner you help them, the better the outcome.
(Read also: Understanding why you may feel suicidal)
How to help your loved one or your friends suicidal?
Talk to them about your concerns
Suicide can be a hard topic to bring up. However, direct and honest conversation is the only way to help. You can start by saying: “I have been feeling concerned about you lately” or “I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately”.
It is important to express your willingness to help them and not to argue or judge their attitude if they refuse to answer you. It is important to be a good listener who is calm, patient and sympathetic about your friend’s problems.
Avoid lecturing on the value of life or giving them any advice that is unnecessary for them. You should not blame yourself for unable to fix your friend’s depression. Just be yourself and show your friend that they are not alone.
Respond rapidly in a crisis
People with thoughts of suicide often plan their suicide, the means to carry out the plan, a time set for doing it, and an intention to do it. Those with mental illness are often faster to act on their plan. If a friend tells you that they are thinking about death or suicide, it's important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in.
Offer help and support
The best way to support your friend is to offer them empathy. It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. As you're helping your friend, don't let the problem bring you down and make you forget to take care of yourself.
You can offer a professional help or encourage them to get treatment for their depression. Physician can give them the best therapy; prescribe medication, so you should make sure your friend follow the treatment as directed.
In case your friend is likely to commit suicide, remove potential means of suicide such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms and give out only as the person needs them.
Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If your friend who is considering suicide needs help from you, you should talk openly with them and provide mental support. (kes)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.