Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 92 of 179 
Next page End Contents 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97  

judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong or whether
their feelings are right or wrong or good or bad. Don’t lecture on the
value of life or on how terrible suicide would be. Just patiently listen.
(4) After understanding their situation (and letting them discharge
their emotions), then gradually and patiently do your very best to
convince them to accept getting into treatment with a professional
person. (5) If they resist, tell them how important it is that they make
an appointment. If necessary, agree to make the appointment for
them and offer to go with them if they would like that. (6) If it just
isn’t possible to get them to see a doctor, tell their relatives and/or
other friends about the situation and work with others to get the help
that is needed. You may make a friend mad by disclosing their dire
situation, but as one suicide expert says,”It is better to have a mad
friend than a dead one”. (7) Continue to be available and
concerned. Suggest that they do things with you and other friends.
Don’t leave them alone for long periods of time. 
If a friend or relative starts to rely on you when he/she is suicidal,
you must be sympathetic to the pain he/she is suffering but guard
against becoming, in effect, his/her main "therapist." Insist that
he/she see a therapist. Don't get caught in the situation of being
repeatedly called when the friend/relative is depressed at 2:00 A.M. or
drinking and crying at a bar at closing time. Your friend/relative needs
professional help; if you rush to rescue your friend every time, you
may be an "enabler" and actually interfering with him/her getting a
therapist. It is hard to insist that they get therapy, especially when
they say "you are the only one who understands me…or can help me,"
but you aren't the right person to handle this situation. 
Suicide of a loved one is hard to accept; it is deeply disturbing and
shocking, it may make you ashamed, guilty, mad, relieved, or all
mixed up. This is especially true if you have allowed them to depend
entirely on you for help. Getting help for them is the right thing to do.
See Rosenfeld & Prupas (1984) and Wrobleski (1995) if you, as a
survivor, are troubled by a suicide and need to understand. 
Be warned that about 10% of people who have tried and failed will
try suicide again within 3 months. That percentage increases, if they
don’t get help. That's why you must insist your friend or relative get
professional help; force them to see a professional, if you have to. If
your friend does kill him/herself, you will probably need to read about
it and talk about it with a friend, or a support group, or a counselor
(Hewett, 1980). 
Finding helpful and useful information
To talk with a suicide prevention counselor by phone:
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or
1-800-999-9999 or or 1-800-827-7571 or 1-888-248-2587 (you may
get a counselor directly or a person who will quickly transfer you to a
counselor in a prevention center near where you live). Information
Previous page Top Next page

« Back