298. Stopping a Suicide


What would you say to a young man who told you he was about to commit suicide? “Don’t do it. For God’s sake, don’t do it.” And you’d read all about him the next day in the newspaper.

People who are suicidal don’t reach out because they want someone to talk them out of it.  They want empathetic listening to help them process their feelings and thoughts. And so your job is to…listen.

Suicidal people are missing hope, a reason to go on, any reason. Don’t shy away from talking about death. To them, it’s both an emotional and logical option. Listen to their reasons and accept them as legitimate – before offering better options. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is Steven Covey’s fifth habit.

Perhaps a young woman is considering suicide because she has battled depression for several years, has sought professional help, and nothing has worked. “Yes, yes, of course,” you say, “but the professionals you are seeing may not be the right ones, and another medication may be effective, and even a person with treatment-resistant depression can be helped by new electrical stimulation techniques, as well as the old one of electroconvulsive therapy. And if even that doesn’t help, many people have learned to live and even thrive with depression, making lemonade from even the sourest of lemons. There is always hope.”

Finally, offer to stand by a person considering suicide and let him know he is not alone; you’ll help in any way you can. That’s what I do as a coach for those in depression. If you feel you aren’t able or willing to walk with him, find someone who can. As you do so, ask him for some time.

About Patrick Day

triumphoverdepression.org This blog is my ministry to support those who are depressed, in gratefulness for my having overcome major depression. Read "About Patrick Day" just to the right of "home" on the top of the blog site to find out more particulars about me. I retired from a career in higher education, where I served as Dean of Instruction, and promptly moved into a life of purposelessness and despair for five years, finally coming out on the other side. I am now an author, a business and life coach, a writer of this blog, and a volunteer for various organizations. What I write about in this blog is not hypothetical comments on depression. I have been there, felt the horrible pain, had my life disrupted, and experienced everything that I write about. I pray that I may be a blessing to you.
This entry was posted in Hope, People With Depression, Treatments for Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

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