How Can I Help My Suicidal Friend – Clinically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — by April Kahn — updated December 20, 2019
Suicide is taking one’s life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of approximately 47,000 Americans each year.
How Can I Help My Suicidal Friend
Suicidal behavior refers to talking about or taking actions to end one’s own life. Suicidal thoughts and behavior should be treated as a psychological emergency.
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If you or someone you know has this, you should get help from a healthcare provider right away.
You can’t see what someone is feeling inside, so it’s not always easy to recognize when someone is having suicidal thoughts. However, some outward warning signs that a person may be having suicidal thoughts are:
It may sound scary, but taking action and getting the help a person needs can help prevent suicide attempts or death.
If you suspect a family member or friend is having suicidal thoughts, talk to them about your concerns. You can start the conversation by asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.
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Make sure not to minimize their problems or bother them to change their minds. The best way to help them is to listen and show your support. You can also encourage them to seek help from a professional.
Offer to help them find, call, or accompany a health care provider to their first appointment.
It can be scary when someone you care about shows signs of suicide. But it’s important to take action if you’re in a position to help. Starting a conversation to help save lives is a risk worth taking.
If you’re worried and don’t know what to do, you can get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline.
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If you live in the United States, try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). They have trained counselors available 24/7. Stop Suicide Today is another helpful resource.
Befrienders Worldwide and the International Association for Suicide Prevention are two organizations that provide contact information for crisis centers outside the United States.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), if you see someone doing any of the following, they should seek treatment immediately:
Usually there is no single reason why someone decides to commit suicide. Many factors, such as mental health disorders, increase the risk of suicide.
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All people who die by suicide have no mental illness at the time of their death.
Depression is a top mental health risk factor, but others include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and personality disorders.
Health care providers can determine whether someone is at high risk for suicide based on their symptoms, personal history, and family history.
They want to know when the symptoms started and how often the person is experiencing them. They also ask about past or present medical problems and some conditions that run in the family.
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This helps them identify possible explanations for symptoms and may require other tests or specialists to make a diagnosis. They probably make judgments about the person:
Treatment depends on the root cause of a person’s suicidal thoughts and behavior. However, in most cases, treatment involves talk therapy and medication.
Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is a treatment method to reduce the risk of suicide attempts. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that is often used for people with suicidal thoughts.
Its purpose is to teach you how to work through stressful life events and emotions that contribute to your suicidal thoughts and behavior. CBT can help you replace negative beliefs with positive ones and regain fulfillment and control in your life.
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If talk therapy doesn’t do enough to reduce your risk, medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Treating these symptoms can help reduce or eliminate suicidal thoughts.
Along with talk therapy and medication, adopting certain healthy habits can sometimes reduce the risk of suicide. This includes:
If you have suicidal thoughts or feelings, don’t be ashamed and keep them to yourself. Although some people have suicidal thoughts with the intention of acting on them, it is still important to take action.
You shouldn’t try to manage suicidal feelings entirely on your own. Getting professional help and support from loved ones can make it easier to overcome any challenges that lead to those feelings.
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Many organizations and support groups can help you deal with suicidal thoughts and recognize that suicide is not the best way to deal with stressful life events. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource.
You should not change your dose or stop taking your medication unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so. If you suddenly stop taking your medication, suicidal feelings may return and you may experience withdrawal symptoms.
If you experience unwanted side effects from the medication you are currently taking, talk to your provider about switching to another medication.
It is important to keep all therapy sessions and other appointments. The best way to deal with suicidal thoughts and behavior is to stick to your treatment plan.
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Work with your health care provider or therapist to learn about possible triggers for your suicidal feelings. This will help you spot danger signs early and decide what steps to take first.
It’s also helpful to alert family and friends to the warning signs so they know when you need help.
If you are concerned that you may be acting out with suicidal thoughts, get rid of guns, knives, or any serious drugs.
Today, many organizations and individuals are working hard on suicide prevention, and more resources are available than ever before. No one should have to deal with suicidal thoughts alone.
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Whether you have a loved one grieving or you are struggling alone, help is available. Don’t be silent – you can help save lives.
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Our experts are constantly monitoring the health and wellness space and we update our articles as new information becomes available. Feeling helpless, helpless, or depressed can lead to intense emotional pain and helplessness. Sometimes these feelings lead to suicidal thoughts, but it is important to let the person with these thoughts know that there is help and hope. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, talk to a trusted adult or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “GET STARTED” to 741-741.
Suicide rarely happens without warning. As a partner, you’re probably in the best position to know when a friend needs help and help them get it. You can see signs in person, hear about them in person, or see them online on social media. Never ignore these signs. Although suicide is usually associated with mental illness (especially depression and associated feelings of hopelessness and helplessness), there may be certain situations that trigger a suicidal act, such as breaking up with a boyfriend, failing at school, or being bullied. or experiencing abuse, loss or other injury. It’s important to be aware of these warning signs and what to do if you see them in yourself or a friend. Suicides can be prevented. By listening, speaking and acting you can save lives.
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Parents and teachers are in a key position to spot the warning signs and get them the help they need. More than twice as many people worldwide die by suicide. Here’s how to help your loved one bounce back from the abyss
A clinical psychologist. She hosts the Neurotic Nourishment podcast and co-authored with Celine Castrovilla the book
“I feel like that every night,” she admitted, tucking her long blonde hair behind her ear. ‘I feel like I’m fighting to stay alive.’
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I’ve been seeing 17-year-old Bethany twice a week for the past six months. Bethany is smart, beautiful, a talented musician, and has a sarcastic streak that makes her very funny.
He fights alone to stay alive every day, a dichotomy beautifully illustrated in his Captain America references. (Fortunately, I’m a Marvel fan, so it gave us a wonderful platform to reconnect during therapy.)
There were points in the two years I was caring for Bethany when it seemed like keeping her alive and keeping one foot in front of the other was a small, time-limited goal. Little things like the release of a new movie or a musical act he’s been preparing for months.
Bethany was hospitalized once
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