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Questions or Comments?
HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMEONE IS ACTUALLY SUICIDAL?
1) If someone threatens or makes statements referring to suicide, TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY. Many people have taken their lives when people thought their statements about suicide were "manipulative" or the person was being "melodramatic."
Many people have died "accidentally." They may take some medication for example just to get others to hear them and feel they will be discovered and saved. Instead of calling attention to their needs, they in fact, died.
2) If the person is telling you either in person or over the phone that they ARE going to kill themselves, you call 911 RIGHT NOW. Law enforcement will come to the personís home and take them to be evaluated by a mental health person. Even if you feel in your heart, that they will not take their life, you go by what they are telling you. Donít wait to get over to their house to call 911. You call 911 RIGHT NOW from wherever you are at.
If the suicidal person forbids you to call, is angry about it or upset, you call ANYWAY. If you need to go to a neighborís home to call, do it. If itís in the middle of the night, wake up the neighbor and make that call.
If the person is calling from an unknown location and discusses suicide, try to find out where they are. You cannot send someone to them if you donít know where to find them.
What if that person has you in confidence and makes you swear that you will not tell anyone how they are feeling? Do you keep that confidence? NO! Would you be a lousy friend, mother, etc. if you broke that confidence? NO! Suicidal discussion automatically ends confidentiality.
A person in crisis may not be aware that they are in need of help or be able to seek it on their own. They may also need to be reminded that effective treatment for depression is available, and that many people can very quickly begin to experience relief from depressive symptoms.
WHAT DO I SAY TO SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDAL?
Ask these questions first:
San Francisco Suicide Prevention below says: Things to watch for when assessing potential risk... Remember "P.L.A.I.D. P.A.L.S."
Plan: Do they have one?
Lethality: Is it lethal? Can they die?
Availability: Do they have the means to carry it out?
Illness: Do they have a mental or physical illness?
Depression: Chronic or specific incident(s)?
What if the person does not "qualify" for the above statements? Do you not take them seriously? YES! ALWAYS take people seriously when suicide is discussed. If they truly want to die, they may not tell you the truth about their plan.
All it takes is for someone to say "I am going to kill myself" to call 911. When law enforcement comes, they will assess the person. They will talk to the person. There are times where the person is not "taken" by law enforcement, but I do believe it is helpful to have law enforcement there to talk with them.
After you have taken emergency measures as described above, or the person is not in immediate risk, what do you say to them?
a) Judge them
b) Show anger toward them
c) Provoke guilt
d) Discount their feelings
e) Tell them to "snap out of it"