How to Deal with Suicides

The following is a report that indicates how you might recognize suicidals, and how you might deal with them. But a warning: Suicide can be a very complex issue, and it might be better to have a professional deal with this issue if it comes up, but if this is very difficult to attain, this guide is a very good alternative to follow if you have no other solution to the problem. CHOOSING TO LIVE by Dr. Thomas E. Ellis & Dr. Cory F.Newman A suicidal person once said "It's like I want to be dead, but not forever:" 1) Suicide is an Ugly Word. - To help get rid of this stigma, you should think of suicide as a problem-solving situation. Basically there is no such thing as a rational suicide. 2)Who are the Suicidals? - Basically there are two types. They are either extremely depressed (mostly men), or they are extremely controlling (mostly women). The extremely depressed are interested in death (life is too painful) whereas the extremely controlling just want attention and are afraid of abandonment. One way in dealing with the extremely depressed, if you can eliminate the stigma in talking about suicide, is to set up two columns (one headed "advantages of living" and the other headed "advantages of dying") on a piece of paper, and have the potential Suicidal list the various advantages as he or she sees it. If the advantages of dying outweigh the advantages of living, the counselor has to work with the potential suicidal on the advantages of living. Some of the risk factors that one should look for in assessing whether one is suicidal or not are 1) has he or she tried it before, 2) has suicide been part of the family's history, 3) is the person deeply depressed or extremely withdrawn, 4) is there excessive substance abuse, and 5) is there a specific plan in place to commit suicide. 3)Who are the Suicidals - Continued - They are usually the people with strong negative backgrounds, either genetically or environmentally. And to help those with this heritage, it's good to continue encouraging those with these suicide tendencies to continue listing reasons for living on a piece of paper. 4) Should Suicidals be Changed? - No, but their decision-making skills have to be greatly improved, which means they have to see both sides of an issue in order to make an intelligent decision. This means they also have to see the advantages of suicide with their various downsides in order to make an intelligent choice. This should all be done on paper as well so that the potential suicidals can see it all written down before them. 5) Handling a Suicidal Impulse Crisis.- One should try to delay the suicidal impulse crisis, so that the crisis would no longer be so urgent to complete. And to do this you could encourage the Suicidal to sleep it off, talk to a trusted friend about their situation, (This is why the Suicide Prevention hotline is so important), or call 911 or any other emergency telephone number. A longer delaying tactic could be to have them reflect in writing on any unfinished business they would want to accomplish before they die, and encourage them to pursue these goals. Then they should start to enjoy living again. And a third possibility would be for the Suicidals to begin nurturing themselves by keeping themselves well groomed, listening to soothing music, enjoying good food, appreciating beautiful scenes or looking after their pets. But this will take some initial will power. 6) Thinking and Feeling -You feel what you think, whether consciously or unconsciously, but your thoughts are not necessarily facts. 7) How to Change One's Thinking - To change one's negative suicidal feelings, one has to change one's thinking. There are several ways in which to do this. There is the functional approach (after the negative thought surfaces, ask yourself where is it getting me), the logical/empirical approach (after the negative thought surfaces, ask yourself where is the evidence for such a thought), and the questioning approach (after the negative thought surfaces, ask yourself are there other possibilities for such a happening). You can try all these approaches and see what works best for you. Everyone is different. But always do this in writing because it stays with you much longer, and persevere in your efforts because it's only successful if you keep on trying. And if none of these methods work, try the behavior approach whereby do the opposite of what you're feeling, because eventually your behavior will start to effect and change your thinking. 8) Coping with Suicidal Feelings - There are also ways to accommodate your feelings while you're in the process of adjusting your thinking. This can be done by obtaining support from empathizers, ventilating your feelings appropriately, engaging in constructive distractions, or participating in enjoyable recreational activities, and practicing various relaxation techniques (ie, meditation). 9) Learning to Solve Problems - Suicidals actually believe that death is the solution to all problems, but suicide is really the problem to end all solutions. So if you want to solve problems, you have to forget about death. And if you're underestimating your ability to solve problems, you should look at your past experience in recalling if you solved other people's problems as well as your own.. If you did, it suggests that you still have the capability in solving problems. But what are the ingredients that you need in order to solve problems efficiently. There are actually 6. They are 1) that you have to have the problem-solving mind-set, 2) that you have to have the ability to define the problem, 3) that you have to have the ability to generate alternative ideas to solve problems (brainstorming), 4) that you have to evaluate these ideas and decide on a course of action, 5) that you then have to take this action and test the results, and 6) that you have to realize that the results don't have to be perfect. 10) Other Skills to Improve your Life - There are some other approaches you can use to lessen suicidal tendencies. Some of these are 1) learning how to become more assertive, 2) improving your relationship-enhancement skills by making your presence known to others, being responsive to kind words and invitations, making a point of treating others with consideration and respect, and learning relationship skills through how you associate with your pets, and 3) involving yourself strongly in helping other people. 11) Developing a Philosophy of Life - But behind all these techniques, one has to discover a new, but meaningful philosophy of life for these potential suicidals, so that they would CHOOSE TO LIVE a much more abundant life, as opposed to dying prematurely. Appendix - Guide for Concerned Friends Signs to Look for 1) The person talks about suicide. 2) The person makes final plans. (gives away prized possessions) 3) The person's behavior pattern changes in disturbing ways. 4) The person behaves in ways that are self-injurious or stem to invite danger or harm. 5) The person has experienced significant losses in a short period of time. 6) The person suffers from a chronic illness. 7) The person has suffered extreme social humiliation. 8) The person abuses mind-altering substances and has access to firearms or other instruments of self-destruction. 9) The person has tried it before. 10) Suicide seems to run in the family. In any of these situations, don't overreact or under-react, take the middle ground and dialogue with the suicidal to see what's really going on with him or her in a very calm, and nonjudgmental way. But don't ever feel his or her feelings are your responsibility. They have to make the choice themselves whether they want to live or die. Summary of the book by Corbin M. Wright