Suicide Prevention

When someone you know is suicidal

If you're a teenager who's concerned that a friend or classmate may be considering suicide, take action.

Ask the person directly about their feelings, even though it may be awkward. Listen to what the person has to say and take it seriously. Just talking to someone who really cares can make a big difference.

If you've talked to the person and you're still concerned, share your concerns with a teacher, guidance counselor, someone at church, someone at a local youth center or another responsible adult.

It may be hard to tell whether a friend or classmate is suicidal, and you may be afraid of taking action and being wrong. If someone's behavior or talk makes you think the person might be suicidal, that individual may be struggling with some major issues, even if not considering suicide at the moment. You can help the person get to the right resources.

Offer support

If a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide, professional help is needed, even if suicide isn't an immediate danger. Here's what you can do.

Offer support

If a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide, professional help is needed, even if suicide isn't an immediate danger. Here's what you can do.

Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. In the SA

SADAG 0800 567 567 call centre

or text

083 651 3729 chat online

079 847 4709 chat online

to reach The Shackz Lifeline, or use the Lifeline Chat. Veterans or service members can reach out to

0605743344 chat online

0665569007 chat online.

Encourage the person to seek treatment. A suicidal or severely depressed person may not have the energy or motivation to find help. If the person doesn't want to consult a doctor or mental health provider, suggest finding help from a support group, crisis center, faith community, teacher or other trusted person. You can offer support and advice — but remember that it's not your job to substitute for a mental health provider.

Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support. For example, you can research treatment options, make phone calls and review insurance benefit information, or even offer to go with the person to an appointment

Encourage the person to communicate with you. Someone who's suicidal may be tempted to bottle up feelings because the person feels ashamed, guilty or embarrassed. Be supportive and understanding, and express your opinions without placing blame. Listen attentively and avoid interrupting.

Be respectful and acknowledge the person's feelings. Don't try to talk people out of their feelings or express shock. Remember, even though someone who's suicidal isn't thinking logically, the emotions are real. Not respecting how the person feels can shut down communication.

Don't be patronizing or judgmental. For example, don't tell someone, "Things could be worse" or "You have everything to live for." Instead, ask questions such as, "What's causing you to feel so bad?" "What would make you feel better?" or "How can I help?"

Never promise to keep someone's suicidal feelings a secret. Be understanding, but explain that you may not be able to keep such a promise if you think the person's life is in danger. At that point, you have to get help.

Offer reassurance that things can get better. When someone is suicidal, it seems as if nothing will make things better. Reassure the person that with appropriate treatment, other ways to cope can be developed and the person can feel better about life again.

Encourage the person to avoid alcohol and drug use. Using drugs or alcohol may seem to ease the painful feelings, but ultimately it makes things worse — it can lead to reckless behavior or feeling more depressed. If the person can't quit on their own, offer to help find treatment.

Remove potentially dangerous items from the person's home, if possible. If you can, make sure the person doesn't have items around that could be used for suicide — such as knives, razors, guns or drugs. If the person takes a medication that could be used for overdose, encourage the person to have someone safeguard it and give it as prescribed.

Take all signs of suicidal behavior seriously

If someone says they're thinking of suicide or behaves in a way that makes you think the person may be suicidal, don't play it down or ignore the situation. Many people who kill themselves have expressed the intention at some point. You may worry that you're overreacting, but the safety of your friend or loved one is most important. Don't worry about straining your relationship when someone's life is at stake.

You're not responsible for preventing someone from taking their own life — but your intervention may help the person see that other options are available to stay safe and get treatment.

Reach out — Preventing teen suicide

Toni

The Shackz

083 651 3729

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