• Suicide Prevention: How to Save the Life of a Loved One

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Jun 11th, 2018

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 44,965 of Americans die each year by suicide and this is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. If you take data from the World Health Organization, you’ll notice that this number is even larger—approximately 1 million people. It’s a scary number and one that should not be taken lightly at any cost.

However, coming face to face with “just a number” and with a suicidal person are two completely different things. Most people don’t know how to deal with the latter, while others as hard as they try, rarely succeed in preventing the worst from happening.

So, how does one go about helping someone willing to take their own life?

The one thing you should always keep in mind is this: most suicidal persons won’t ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t needed. In these situations, you need to pay attention to the warning signs and take them seriously, no matter how preposterous the idea may seem to you.

If you notice a loved one struggling, make sure to bring up the problem and talk openly about what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling, because this is what might just end up saving their life. This is where suicide prevention starts.

Warning Signs of Suicide to Keep an Eye on

Like we already mentioned, helping an individual who is suicidal is not an easy task and it requires you to keep an eye on warning signs and act accordingly if you spot any.

Some of the major signs include talking about harming or killing oneself, talking about death, and searching for things that might aid them in this, e.g. drugs, knives, guns, etc. In case a person’s suffering from depression, has a bipolar disorder, or a problem with alcohol, these signs should be an even bigger alert.

A subtle, but just as important sign, is talking about hopelessness. If you hear your friend or family member talking about feelings that they can’t bear or a future without them in it, don’t just ignore it. This could be the warning sign that you need to look out for.

Some of the other signs include dramatic mood swings, neglection of their appearance, changes in sleeping or eating habits, and so on. If you notice something “off”, act on it no matter how insignificant it might be—worst case scenario, you might be able to help someone out. Best case scenario, you might be wrong and your concern won’t harm anyone.

Tips on How to Help a Suicidal Person

1. If you’re concerned, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s natural to be afraid of someone’s reaction when talking about something as delicate as this, but if you notice them showing the warning signs, it’s better to say something than nothing at all. If you show that you care, chances are that they’ll use the opportunity to express some of their negative feelings and you’ll be able to prevent them from committing suicide. In these situations, try to be yourself as much as you can, listen to them, offer hope, and always take the person in question seriously.

2. Be quick to act. If your loved one expresses a desire to commit suicide, you need to evaluate the level of danger they are in. Those who are most likely to take their own life always have a plan in place, know which weapon they’ll use, and know when they’ll do it. If you determine that the risk of a suicide attempt is imminent, don’t hesitate to call 911 or even take the person to the emergency room. Whatever you do, don’t leave them alone.

3. Offer your support and professional help. Let your loved one know that they are not, in fact, alone in all this. Help them see that you are there for them and that you want to help them get through this. However, understand that you can’t actually make them get better—for this to happen, they need to seek out professional help and commit to recovery.

Dr. Best and the team at the Neuroscience Center have years of experience working with suicidal people and have achieved groundbreaking results with Ketamine Infusions. This treatment can not only promote the rapid onset of effect of oral antidepressants, but also prevent patients from failing treatments, thus reducing the likelihood of them becoming “treatment-refractory”.

If you know someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md


Author Caroline Ryther

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