Worldwide Suicide Prevention Week is September 4-11, 2016. It’s a week to affirm our commitment to helping ourselves and others and to acknowledge that we sometimes struggle and that reaching out isn’t weak: it’s strong.
How do you help someone who’s suicidal?
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most suicidal people are ambivalent – they don’t want to die – they just want to stop hurting.
Here are some “Don’ts” that apply to anyone who might be suicidal:
• Do not leave him/her alone or let him/her go off alone
• Do not be judgmental
• Do not argue, debate, analyze, or moralize
• Do not try to cheer him/her up
• Do not try to shock or challenge (i.e., say “Oh, go ahead and do it if you want to!”)
• Do not accept “I’m okay now.” (Nobody recovers immediately from suicidality.)
• Do not be sworn to secrecy
• Do not feel like you have to manage this alone: get help from the University Counseling Center, Resident Ministers, or other resources on campus.
Here are some “Do’s”:
• Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide
• Take the intent or threat very seriously
• Show that you care and say it
Is there immediate apparent danger?
If you see any of these warning signs, there is IMMEDIATE, APPARENT DANGER:
• Weapons, pills or other means visible or talked about (“I know where my dad keeps his gun.”)
• The person has a clear plan(“I’m going to get in my car tomorrow and drive off of the Causeway.”)
• The person voices intent (“I want to end my life, and I’m going to kill myself.”)
If there is no apparent immediate danger (and no lethal means in view):
• Tell her/him that help is available and you can see that he/she gets it.
• Call the UCC and speak with the counselor on-call: 504-865-3835 (press 1)
If there is apparent immediate danger – ACT:
• Say that you are getting help
• Call LUPD at (504) 865-3434 and tell them “I’m with someone who is suicidal.” They will help you get emergency services.
Remember: You cannot predict death by suicide, but you can identify people who are at increased risk for suicidal behavior, take precautions, and refer them for effective treatment.