Showing concern can prevent suicide

The letter writer offers tips on how to help someone who’s suffering.

Posted on Aug. 4, 2014 at 2:58 p.m.

Everyone has issues that they have to deal with in their lives, some are daily, and most are less frequent. It’s when we become overwhelmed and our issues become so drastic that they are unbearable that the results can be catastrophic.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. A person contemplating suicide may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Very few individuals with suicidal thoughts truly want to die. They just want the suffering to end.

This is when you as a family member, friend or even as a stranger on the street can make a difference. The simplest step in suicide prevention is an open and honest question or two to the person. Talking to someone having suicidal thoughts can be extremely difficult for anyone, and can save a life. When talking to a distraught person, be yourself. The perfect words are not important but a concerned dialogue with the person is paramount.

Take the time to listen, don’t be abrupt or judgmental. Offer hope and reassurance that you and others care and together you can find help. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are contemplating suicide, its okay for them to share the pain with you.

Look for the suicide warning signs in those you may be concerned about.

Does the person talk about suicide or have obtained lethal means in the recent past?

Has he or she experienced drastic change in their lifestyle with feelings of despair, hopelessness, self loathing or even hatred?

Is the person becoming withdrawn from others they cared about or perhaps putting their affairs in order?

These can be telling signs that someone you love may be contemplating suicide. Be strong, be loving, be yourself and ask them to talk. That moment may be the moment in time you save a life.


Elkhart County Suicide Prevention Coalition


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