Suicide Prevention Tips
- Let’s Talk About It: Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Tips
I found the following writing online by an anonymous individual who is a survivor of a suicide attempt, titled “Ordinary People”:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Imagine if all the revolutionary people we know quitting from their work, quitting from their dreams, quitting from their life because they are afraid, because of the pain and problems they are dealing with, we wouldn’t be here right now, the world wouldn’t be the same. Well they were ordinary people like us with ordinary problems, their life wasn’t easy but they never quitted
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of Life that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Read that line again — “And as we let our own light shine, we give other people permission to do the same.”
That is grand. We can all be a part of bringing hope and healing to others. In fact, I’ve already witnessed you doing just that on this very campus!
Dr. Mark Goulston, a suicide specialist for more than 30 years, points to the feeling of despair that nearly all suicidal people felt at the point of making an attempt. Goulston proposes that we “just listen.” He asserts that if we allow an individual to feel heard and felt, a number of them will give up their suicidality. That is because if they feel heard and understood by someone, they may not need to move toward suicide as the only thing that “understands” their need to end their pain.
If you know anyone experiencing depression or despair, the good news is, you don’t have to know the right words to say. You listen and simply reflect back what you hear. For example:
1. Loved one says: “I’m all alone.”
Instead of insisting, “No you aren’t. I’m here with you!” Say instead, “I know you feel alone right now. I will sit with you while you feel lonely.”
2. Loved one says: “Why bother? There’s no point in going on.”
Instead of pointing out the reasons they have to live just say, “I know you feel that way right now. You matter to me. We can get through this hopeless feeling together.”
3. “It would be better if I wasn’t here anymore.”
You can say, “I would miss you terribly.”
Just listen and reflect to them that you hear their feelings. Perhaps you can be the one to walk your friend through the door of the Counseling Clinic. If you feel the situation is urgent, either call the University Police or 911. You can sit with your friend until help arrives.
Together, we can shed light on suicide and be a part of offering hope and healing to those we love.
Shine your own light!