“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5
“Suicide is a permanent soluation to a temporary problem” Phil Donahue
What do we do when someone we love is very depressed and possibly suicidal? How can we know if they will do it? What do we do if we suspect he or she is suicidal, but we have no proof?
Suicidal people may not be honest with you. Suicides are usually well planned. If your loved one has been extremely sad lately, but suddenly brightens up, that could be a sign he or she had decided to end his or her life. Even if the person is telling you “No, I’d never do that,” while that’s great to hear, we need to look at their actions/behavior. Their pattern of behavior may tell you something completely different than their words.
We can’t hesitate when we suspect a loved one may be suicidal. Here are some tips:
- Talk: Be direct – ask them how they’re doing. “Hey, I’ve noticed you seem very down lately, and I’m concerned about you. Are you having any thoughts of self-harm?” For more detailed information regarding risk factors, you can click here: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/
- Be persistent: People usually give up after a few tries. Keep reaching out to the person. Don’t give up.
- Show up: Show up where they live (or work if you must,) don’t wait for an invitation and don’t accept being blown off.
- Enlist help: If you cannot physically get to your loved one and you feel concerned about his/her well-being, you can call their local police department for a “safety check” or a “welfare check.” http://thelawdictionary.org/article/what-is-a-police-welfare-check/ The police will go to his/her residence and simply check on him/her. While calling police may sound like a bit much, they do safety checks all the time and are well trained in how to handle them. As police have told me, it’s better to call and learn eveything is okay rather than not call, and something bad happens.
- Immediate assistance: If you already know your loved is having thoughts of suicide and you cannot get to him/her you can call the police and ask them to evaluate the person for Involuntary Civil Committment. (It’s known as the “Baker Act” in the state of Florida and also known as “Involuntary Civil Committment” elsewhere. For more information click here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/involuntary_civil_commitment) Let the police know you’re friend is having suicidal thoughts. The Police will locate him/her, evaluate, and transport to the nearest hospital if deemed necessary. The hospital will evaluate and then transport to a Mental Health Treatment facility.
There are many resources available if you would like more detailed information, statistics, hand outs, and/or resources for your loved one. Each of the links listed below contains valuable information, and resources to help.
There is a 24 hour 7 day a week Crisis Hotline (They will even chat or text!): 800-273-8255 http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
You Cannot Be Replaced: http://www.youcannotbereplaced.com/
American Association of Suicidology: http://www.suicidology.org/
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About the author: Laura Peddie-Bravo is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor with over 15 years experience working with depression and suicidal ideation. Mrs. Peddie-Bravo is the founder and owner of The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC. For more information, questions, or to arrange a complimentary phone call, please call 407-222-6239 M-F. http://www.TheBravoCounselingGroup.com