|As a serious public health problem
suicide demands our attention, but its prevention and
control, unfortunately, are no easy task. State-of-the-art research
indicates that the prevention of suicide, while feasible, involves
a whole series of activities, ranging from the provision of the best
possible conditions for bringing up our children and youth, through
the effective treatment of mental disorders, to the environmental
control of risk factors. Appropriate dissemination of information
and awareness-raising are essential elements in the success of suicide
first small step that can go a long way is to just be sensitive
towards people in your world.
someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, our first response is
to try to help. We offer advice, share our own experiences, try
to find solutions.
do better to be quiet and listen. People who feel suicidal don't
want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their
fears and anxieties, to be themselves.
Listening - really listening - is not easy. We must control the
urge to say something - to make a comment, add to a story or offer
advice. We need to listen not just to the facts that the person
is telling us but to the feelings that lie behind them. We need
to understand things from their perspective, not ours.
are some points to remember if you are helping a person who feels
Someone to listen. Someone who will take time to
really listen to them. Someone who won't judge, or give advice or
opinions, but will give their undivided attention.
Someone to trust. Someone who will respect them
and won't try to take charge. Someone who will treat everything
in complete confidence.
Someone to care. Someone who will make themselves
available, put the person at ease and speak calmly. Someone who
will reassure, accept and believe. Someone who will say, "I
To be alone. Rejection can make the problem seem
ten times worse. Having someone to turn to makes all the difference.
To be advised. Lectures don't help. Nor does a
suggestion to "cheer up", or an easy assurance that "everything
will be okay." Don't analyze, compare, categorize or criticize.
To be interrogated. Don't change the subject, don't pity
or patronize. Talking about feelings is difficult. People who feel
suicidal don't want to be rushed or put on the defensive. Just listen.
If you recognize suicidal behaviour in friend/family or acquaintance
encourage them to
to family or friends. Just talking to a family member or
a friend or a colleague can bring huge relief.
to a befriender at Lifeline.
Some people cannot talk to family or friends. Some find it easier
to talk to a stranger. There are befriending centers all over the
world, with volunteers who have been trained to listen. One
such centre is ours. If calling is too difficult, the
person can send an email.
to a doctor. If someone is going through a longer period
of feeling low or suicidal, he or she may be suffering from clinical
depression. This is a medical condition caused by a chemical imbalance,
and can usually be treated by a doctor through the prescription
of drugs and/or a referral to therapy.
above all just Be
quiet and listen!