Sadness Can Lead to Suicidal Ideation…
We all have days when we are feeling sad, but for individuals who suffer from depression and/or other mental health problems, sadness can sometimes lead to suicidal ideation and a plan or attempt to take their own life.
What To Do During a Suicidal Crisis…
It is particularly important how you, as their friend or loved one, react when there is a suicidal crisis. Your reaction can help an individual get back to safety – or escalate the situation and cause more difficulties. Below are some ideas of what to do or not to do if you ever find yourself in this situation.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Tuesday, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day 2019.
If you are unclear about what to do, reach out immediately by calling 911 or a local helpline. Support is only a phone call away.
COAST – Hamilton Crisis Line: 905-972-8338 / 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 / 24 hours a day, 7 days a week OR text: 45645 (4pm-12am ET)
Canadian Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600 Are You In Crisis?
- Remain calm when an individual discloses that they want to end their life. Your panic and fear will only aggravate the situation. When someone discloses that they want to end their life there are a number of steps in the process. “I want to die” or “I wish I was dead” may or may not indicate an immediate risk. If someone tells you this pay attention. Listen. Ask questions to determine the level of seriousness. “I want to die” may simply mean, “I feel terrible and I want the pain to end” or it could mean that they have the means to harm themselves. Remember to breathe. At this point you may be feeling very fearful of the outcome. As long as they are talking to you there is still hope.
- Do not refuse to talk to them about their suicidal feelings. For some individuals, suicidal feelings happen regularly. You may have heard them say that they want to harm themselves before. Do not refuse to talk about it. Shutting down an individual who feels desperate is not the way to help them. In fact, it may escalate the situation. If you feel unqualified or overwhelmed by a person’s ongoing suicidal talk or behaviour, reach out for help. Call 911. In some communities there are special programs which match officers with social workers who respond to this type of crisis. If you decide the danger is not imminent, call local mental health providers to get suggestions for next steps.
- Talk to the person about safety, reasons to live, and how important they are to you. Tell them you love them. Get them to breathe. Encourage them to move from the space that they are in to a safer place. For example, getting them out of their bedroom or back home or away from the physical danger.
- If you cannot be with them physically because of distance or time, get someone else there as soon as possible. Remember calling 911 can save a life. They may not thank you for making the call, but their safety is the most important consideration.
- If the person is not at imminent risk then the next step is connecting them to local resources. The family doctor is a great place to start. They may need your help making phone calls and getting to appointments. Activate their network so you do not feel alone. Reach out to other friends and family members.
If you or someone you love is suffering from depression or another mental illness I can help. Contact me, Annette Poechman Registered Psychotherapist by clicking this link or book into my online calendar here. If you are suicidal and require immediate support please call 911, friends or family. They love you and don’t want you to hurt yourself.
Listening. Guiding. Caring.