Friday, July 10, 2009

"I want to die"-What to do to help somebody that is thinking about suicide

The murder-suicide of Steve McNair, 36, and Sahel Kazemi, 20 raised the topic of this post. Police indicates Kazemi shot McNair. Other news reports point that Kazemi told some friends her life was a mess and she was going to end it all. I had been in that same position, in which my emotional pain is so high, so excruciating that I just want an exit. I never thought about harming other people but I can identify myself in the position of complete hopelessness and death like the only solution. In those moments we (as individuals with mental health issues) are not thinking clearly, is like having a broken leg, you cannot expect us to walk normally. Therefore, in those moments we have a broken emotional state. So then comes the questions what you can do to help this person.
First of all, you have to take the commentary seriously. Never pass over it thinking the person is not capable of killing themselves, because you really don’t know. You have to contact a professional. Don’t try to fix it by your own. Probably you don’t have the tools to deal with this, so please don’t try to save anybody. If you have to contact this person therapist or ask for an involuntary hospitalization , do it. If you want to be supportive drive them to the therapy sessions, help them to find a therapist if they don’t have one. Remind them about taking their pills, help them around the house. I think, and this is very personal, a 302 is a good tool in the case they are a danger to themselves or other. But always rely in the help of a therapist.
One of the things that never helped me is the commentary of well-intention friends telling me “but you have so much, you are young and beautiful, why you want to kill yourself” People, this commentary just killed me, because it highlighted my inability to feel better at that point and then I felt worst. You can be a successful, a smart person but when the chemistry of your brain goes nuts nothing matters.
The Alliance of Support to Persons with Depression and Bipolar Disorder indicate if somebody talks about suicide advises:

• Keep yourself calm and take the commentary seriously.
• Call the therapist, doctor, police or 911
• Listen to the person, always mantain visual contact.
• Recognize the person feelings. Don’t criticize or argue.
• Emphasize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporal problem. Assure them there is help available.
• Don’t promise confidentiality because probably you will need to talk with the doctor/police/therapist.
• Don’t leave the person alone until they are with competent professionals.

Other websites of how to help a person that is thinking about suicide:
Emergency/Suicide Hotlines
1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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