How to Help a Suicidal Person

29662175631_a9417827cbStatistics Canada reports that an average of 3,000 people commit suicide in Canada every year. All over the world, the World Health Organization found that about one million people commit suicide each year.

Whatever the reason may be, the numbers are alarmingly soaring. It may be difficult to make sense as to why some commit but the person is certainly going through so much pain and s/he can no longer think of another option. That’s why it’s critical for people to do as much as they can to prevent those they know from taking their own lives.

If you know someone who wants to commit suicide, then take the time to read this guide. Below are ways to help a suicidal person and prevent him or her from dealing with it the most dreadful way possible.

Along the way, we will also discuss the warning signs of suicide so you can prevent it from happening.


Understanding Suicide

There are a lot of reasons why someone would think of taking his or her own life. It may or may not be petty to you but this person is in such despair that the only sensible thing for them is to escape this world in hopes for finally putting an end to the pain.

In order to help that person, it’s important to have a better understanding of what suicide is, what its signs are and what suicidal people feel and want. With that in mind, let’s demystify the common misconceptions of suicide.

First and foremost, anyone who wants to commit suicide is not crazy. They are depressed, grief-stricken or desperate but they are far from insane. Keep in mind that emotional stress doesn’t mean mental illness. Second, those who talk about wanting to commit suicide won’t necessarily do it. No matter how jokingly the statement is, it’s important to address it and help the person immediately. Third, it’s not true that a suicidal person is already 100% determined to do it and nothing will stop them. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Often, this is a call for help and they’d want nothing more than have a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold.


Signs of Suicide

Warning signs of intent to commit suicide vary from subtle to drastic. If you believe that person you know and/or love are showing these signs, it’s critical to aid that person right away. Be extra wary of people who are already suffering from mood disorders or alcohol dependence as well as those who have recently attempted suicide.

Here are the following signs you have to watch out for:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Seeking access to pills, guns, knives and the like
  • Self-loathing and self-hatred
  • Loss of hope
  • Withdrawal from social circles
  • Increased state of isolation
  • Getting one’s affairs in order
  • Peculiar focus on death and dying
  • A sudden sense of calm


Preventing Suicide

The good news is there are ways to help this person who is pondering on taking his or her own life. It can be extremely difficult, as you don’t want to assume, judge or come off as implying it. However, doing this right can mean all the difference between life or death.

Keep these things in mind when dealing with a suicidal person.

  1. Listen

One of the best things you can do is to listen and simply let the other person express himself/herself. Allow the person to unload all the anger, pain, hate and helplessness they feel. No matter how negative the conversation can get, the fact that the person is willing to vent it out is a positive sign.

  1. Take the person seriously

The worst you can do is to joke about suicide around someone who is already thinking about it. Moreover, you cannot help this person if you don’t take their thoughts and words seriously. The fact that they’re entertaining the idea means they could be close to actually doing it. So by all means, take the person seriously.

  1. Never be judgmental

A lot can be said about people who want to kill themselves. Some even brand them as cowards. However, being sympathetic to their situation lets them feel that they are not alone and that what they’re going through makes sense even to other people. So be calm, patient and accepting.

  1. Try not to act shocked

Another big no-no is to act like you’re shocked and begin to say things like, “You have so much to live for.” Again, this person is battling something others may not easily comprehend. Stay calm and listen to the person. If need be, immediately call for help.

  1. Educate yourself is just one of the many platforms that aim to help people who want to take their lives. It’s always best to educate oneself to effectively aid those who are in need.