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Suicide Intervention & Prevention

If someone you know has said they are going to kill themselves, take them seriously. If they have said it a hundred times, take them seriously. There have been many instances where a person said they were going to kill themselves and were not taken seriously because they had said it so many times before. If you have heard it again and again depression is a possibility and depression is treatable, but untreated depression can lead to suicide.

Be aware though that suicide is not always a long term plan for long term pain. It can be a risk anytime the pain, whether it is emotional or physical makes life seem like it is not worth living. Individuals who have recently experienced a great personal loss or tragedy are often at a higher risk for suicide than they would be on an everyday basis. Rape victims fall into that category, as do those who have suffered a great personal loss or even just witnessed that loss. Caregivers and rescuers in times of great disaster, may well need counseling at some point to safely work through issues that develop as a result of the horror they have witnessed.

Although it is so old fashioned we don't always see it as a solution, talking it out may still be one of the best cures. Extended family, friends, church, community, neighbors and school still offer the first line of support in times of disaster. If to every time there truely is a season, a time of great emotional turmoil or disaster is truely the time to reach out and come together for mutual support.

Often, as in the case of violence or physical disasters, there is a lot (maybe seemingly over whelming amounts of work) that has to be done just to survive. That in a time when every step may be excruciating. Somewhere in there though is the time and need to talk. From the outside looking in, talking to someone working through a trauma may seem endless. They may need to talk about it way past the point where anyone wants to listen, and it's stil not enough. They still to talk and maybe talk some more. You may need to as well.

That given, if a person close to you has mentioned suicide, talk about it to them. If you even think they may be at risk, talk about it. Find out if they have the means, or have already injured themselves. It is a good idea if you have a suicidal family member to remove the means, (i.e. if you have guns in the house, you might not want them just now, are medications locked away, look around your house and try to remove the means, don't make it easy).

How do they plan to do it. Do they have the means? Have they planned it out? How serious and immediate are the plans? Do they have future plans, for tomorrow, or are there no future plans? Many times a person who has been very depressed and suicidal for a long time will suddenly seem happy and content, like everything is finally right with the world, however, but this may be after they have made the decision to do it? Are they putting their affairs in order now?

Are they intoxicated, or have they been using drugs. Drugs and alcohol are present at many suicides. Those who abuse alcohol and drugs are at high risk. If the person has already injured themselves or the danger is immediate you may have to call for help. 911 intervention may be necessary. If a person has attempted to kill themselves you may save their life, but they will need counseling to resolve the issues that led to the attempt. Although there are exceptions, especially in times of disaster, most people do not decide on the spur of the moment to kill themselves, it is "usually" a long and deliberate decision, a last resort.

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Usually is the key word there though, and that doesn't mean always. If you think you may be at risk, talk about it. Make a plan. What will you do, or who will you call if you find that you are suicidal? If you have already had suicidal thoughts, take steps to take care of yourself. You need to reach outside yourself for help. Is there a close friend you can talk to, a family member, minister or neighbor. Is there a crisis line you can call. Many areas have 24 hour trained counselors who can talk you through your feelings, and the service is free.

Many county mental health centers have counselors on call. Grohol's Webpage has a listing of on line services where you can connect with volunteers via e-mail. You might also want to check out the Web Dex on Support Services for connecting with others and work toward resolving some of those issues that lead up to the suicide attempt. Make a list of your support resources and once you have made your list, use it. What will you do to take care of yourself? Is it time to check into a hospital?

If you or someone you love is suicidal, it is time to reach out. Professional help is often covered by insurance. Many counseling centers will work on a sliding fee, and services may be free from your mental health center if there is financial need. Trained volunteer counselors may be free through local crisis lines, and are there because they care. If there is no local crisis line, the one nearest you may accept collect calls. Call your area directory assistance or go online at for the phone number. Use their services, find out from them what other services are available in your area, then use those services. Most of all connect.


Hope for Life -- By Mikeal L. Best

Join A Support Group And Reduce Your Stress Levels -- By Royane Real. When you are facing a particularly difficult time in life, support groups can help you on your journey.

Little things make life meaningful -- By Michael Holmboe Meyer

A Mother Speaks Out -- By Leslie Sadasivan. "For 2 years prior to his death the change in Robbie from a happy fun loving child to a reclusive moody teenager had profoundly affected our family. I initially dismissed his change in behavior as typical of being an adolescent."

Web Resources

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) -- Funds research, creates educational programs, advocates for public policy, and supports survivors of suicide loss.

Befrienders Worldwide -- "We work worldwide to provide emotional support, and reduce suicide. We listen to people who are in distress. We don't judge them or tell them what to do - we listen."

If You Are Thinking About Suicide -- Read this first.

Dr. Grohol's Suicide Project - Suicide Resources on the Internet. Includes information on email support groups.

National Organization Of People Of Color Against Suicide -- NOPCAS.

Older Adults: Depression and Suicide -- From the National Institute of Mental Health, NIHM.

SA/VE -- Suicide Awareness \ Voices of Education. The mission of SA\VE is to educate about suicide and to speak for suicide survivors.

The Samaritans -- Confidential emotional support to any person who is suicidal or despairing; and that increases public awareness of issues around suicide and depression.

Suicide Helplines -- International listing. Find a suicide helpline near you. For free and confidential email support, please email

Suicide Memorial Wall -- A tribute to lost loved ones.

The Trevor Project -- The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

What to do if Someone you Know Becomes Suicidal -- From the SAVE homepage.

When the Worst has Happened

The information on this page is not meant to replace professional care. Suicidal thoughts, intentions, attempts and threats are a life threatening emergency that should be dealt with the same urgency as a heart attack or any other medical emergency. If the threat is there, help is needed. Get it!

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Copyright © 1995 - 2015 Regina Pickett Garson
All writings, graphics and scripts are copyright by the individual authors. Nothing on this site may be reproduced without permission of the individual authors.

No claims are made as to the reliability of any of the information provided or linked, sources often disagree. None of these pages are meant to be a replacement for professional help, but a resource that enables one to be a more intelligent consumer. You can learn a lot by becoming aware of different opinions. Don't be afraid to ask questions when it comes to your health, physical or emotional.

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