Question:I am struggling with how to counsel a person who wants to commit suicide. Would you please help me to find out a solution to this problem?
The answer would vary with the cause of the person's desire to leave this life. So the first thing you need to do is investigate what is behind the suicidal thoughts.
- Has the person been taking drugs? Many drugs, including abused drugs and prescription drugs, have suicidal thoughts as a side effect. If drugs are involved, you will need medical help to get the person off the drugs first.
- Is the person depressed? Is it due to a specific event or is it vague mood? Often depression responds well with simple activity. Going for a long walk will frequently snap a person out of the depression and past the desire to leave this world.
- Has there been a tragedy in the person's life? Here listening and helping a person see that tragedy doesn't end the value of life is the most important.
- Is the person not getting enough sleep? A lack of sleep causes all sorts of strange ideas to pop into a person's head.
- Are you dealing with a teenager? A few teenagers don't handling their swinging moods well. Seemingly minor events trigger emotions that are all out of proportion to what happened. Once again listening and helping them weigh the options available is important. Often a teenager misses the fact that he has options.
While you are working on the reasons, it is important that the person has someone to watch over them. You don't want to leave him alone until the issue is resolved. If this is not practical, then you need to contact the local hospital. Usually they have facilities to keep a person under 24-hour watch. If you suspect that person is serious and will do something soon, then contact a suicide hot-line for immediate help. Most suicidal thoughts are passing events. If you can keep a person from carrying it out at the moment, the urge will pass and you can then deal with the actual root cause.
What should never be done is to ignore the person. The fact that he is bringing up the topic means he is seeking help. It is better to take it too seriously than not take it seriously enough and find him dead later.