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Helping someone at risk of suicide

Over the last few weeks, I have conducted a few debriefs where someone has suicided or attempted suicide. So, I thought it might be helpful share with you how you might support someone at risk of suicide.

  1. Do something now – If you are concerned that someone you know is considering suicide, act immediately. Don’t assume that they will get better without help or that they will seek help on their own. Reaching out could save a life.
  2. Be there for them: Spend time with the person and let them know you are there for them. Ask them how they are feeling, listen to what’s on their mind and let them do most of the talking.
  3. Ask if they are thinking of suicide: Unless someone tells you, how do you know? Asking can be very hard but it shows you care and they’re not alone. Talking about suicide will not put the idea into their head but will invite them to talk about their feelings. Often, they will feel a great sense of relief that someone is prepared to talk with them about their darkest thoughts.
  4. Check out their safety: If a person is considering suicide, it is important to know how much they have thought about it. Have they thought about how and when they plan to kill themselves? Are they able to carry out their plan? Have they ever deliberately harmed themselves? What support can they access to stay safe and get help? If you are worried, don’t leave the person alone. Seek immediate help and phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 and they will tell you to what to do next. Remove any means of suicide available, including weapons, medications, alcohol, and other drugs, even access to a car. Be aware of your own safety. For immediate crisis intervention when life may be in danger ring the ambulance or police on 000 or go to your local hospital emergency department.
  5. Take action: In some situations, the person may refuse to get help. While it’s important that you find them the help they need, you can’t force them to accept it. You need to ensure that the appropriate people are aware of the situation. Don’t shoulder this responsibility alone. Calling Lifeline on 13 11 14 is a good place to start.
  6. Look after yourself: If you’re helping someone who is considering suicide, make sure you also take care of yourself. It is emotionally draining to support someone who is suicidal, especially over an extended period.
  7. Stay involved: Thoughts of suicide don’t disappear without the person experiencing some change. Their situation or feelings may change, or they may feel more supported and able to deal with it. In either situation, the continued involvement of family and friends is very important.

Never underestimate a non-judgemental listening ear.

About David Lawson

Finding the Light is a locally owned and operated counselling and life coaching business based in Bundaberg. We seek to empower our clients to find their way forward to a better life by using the approaches of counselling or coaching. If this blog article has raised more questions please contact us by email or call us on 0407 585 497 to arrange a time for us to discuss the article. Mention this blog and we will give you a FREE 30 minute session to discuss.

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