Psychological Self-Help

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Since the desire to die, no matter how intense at the moment, is
temporary in almost all circumstances, I strongly argue against the
notion that “suicide is a person’s choice at any time.” I believe the
considerate and loving thing to do is to prevent the suicide in any way
possible, to provide optimal psychological help, and to encourage
support and understanding from family, friends, and co-workers. Let’s
all urge the suicidal person to “hold on” and avoid using their fatal final
solution for what is likely to be a temporary problem (Quinnett, 1987,
1992). In no way is this attitude being overly optimistic. It is true that
some people have depression that lasts for years. But the suicidal
person has no way of knowing his/her depression or other problems
will be interminable. The Seiden follow-up study gives hope…therapy
offers hope…medication offers hope…self-help offers
hope…relatives…friends…groups…offer hope. You can get better! 
As a therapist that is the view I need to take. On the other hand,
we can all recognize that death probably ends the intense personal
pain another person is feeling. When that pain becomes unbearable
and lasts…and when there is little or no hope of lessening the pain,
one can understand the desire to die. A helper must listen with
understanding and deep sympathy to their insoluble (to them) plight.
The therapist’s job is to help them find a way out of this dilemma. 
Understanding Suicide
My purpose in this section is to give you some idea of the scope of
the problem and the rates of suicide in different groups and
conditions. Next, I’ll give a brief summary of the many
circumstances, traits, motives, and causes that might contribute to
suicide. Several kinds and types of suicide will be described. Then a
brief review of the efforts and measurement problems associated with
predicting suicide, i.e., finding and accurately using the warning
signs. Finally, we will briefly cover various ideas about how to prevent
or reduce suicides and how therapy can help a suicidal person, as well
as what self-help methods might serve you well. 
As usual, near the end of this section I will link you to several Web
sites and cite many books explaining suicide. Perhaps no other human
act is as shocking, intriguing and mysterious. It is a serious topic that
has been deeply explored by scholars, biographers, and researchers.
The result is lots of information; yet, much is still not known. I will try
to share with you the available advice for depressed people, and also
for their survivors--relatives and friends, and for therapists and suicide
Just as every life is unique, every suicide is different, complexly
caused, and profoundly sad
Somewhere between 10% and 50% of us, at some time, have
thought of killing ourselves. We almost always look back on those
times as being awful experiences but we think dying would have been
a terrible mistake. Yet, more than 30,000 Americans every year
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