- Stigma of suicide
- Stigma associated with depressive illnesses can prevent people from getting help. Your willingness to talk about depression and suicide with a friend, family member, or co-worker can be the first step in getting help and preventing suicide.
- Warning signs of suicide
- Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental way can be the push a person needs to get help. Questions to ask:
- Do you ever feel so badly that you think of suicide?
- Do you have a plan? Do you know when you would do it (today, next week)?
- Do you have access to what you would use?
Asking these questions will allow you to determine if your friend is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or psychiatrist immediately. Calling 999 or going to a hospital emergency room are valid options. Always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.
Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about endangering a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. It’s better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do to help a friend.
Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing her mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person it’s not that bad, or that she has everything to live for will only increase her feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure the person that help is available and that depression is treatable because suicidal feelings are temporary.
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