Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams: Save a Life, Learn How to Identify and Help a Suicidal Person

Robin Williams' death is a tragedy.  Learn what you can do to prevent this from happening to someone you know and/or love.

Signs a person MAY be suicidal

  • Gives valued things away
  • Obsessed with death
  • Verbal statements about wanting to die
  • Perfectionism
  • Dealing with a major recent crisis
  • Apathetic/Depressed
  • Unexplained anger, impulsivity, risk taking
  • Substance use
  • Recent attempt by family or friend

What NOT to do:
  • Never tell a depressed or suicidal person to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’.
  • Don’t ignore a depressed loved one.
  • Don’t ask “You’re not serious, are you?” or “You’re not thinking of suicide are you?” or “You’re kidding, right?”

What to do:

  • Be persistent about making sure the person is ok.
  • Talk privately.
  • Allow plenty of time.
  • Ask them outright if they are suicidal – how you ask is less important than that you ask it. See the next suggestion about how to ask THE question.
  • Get the person to a professional ASAP. NEVER wait. It is best to physically take them to a counselor or the emergency room as soon as they confirm they are suicidal.
  • Never allow a suicidal person to be alone.

How to ask THE question:

  • Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?
  • When people are as upset as you seem to be, they sometimes wish they were dead. Do you feel that way, too?
  • Are you thinking about killing yourself?
  • You look miserable, are you thinking of committing suicide?
  • If you are uncomfortable doing this, get the person to someone who is trained, such as a school counselor, a medical professional, or a counselor.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Use it if you or a loved one is or is suspected to be suicidal.

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