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Home InterSections Suicide Helping a Friend

I am worried about my friend. What should I do?

Be quiet and listen!

If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, our first response is to try to help. We offer advice, share our own experiences, try to find solutions.

We'd do better to be quiet and listen. People who feel suicidal don't want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their fears and anxieties, to be themselves.

Listening - really listening - is not easy. We must control the urge to say something - to make a comment, add to a story or offer advice. We need to listen not just to the facts that the person is telling us but to the feelings that lie behind them. We need to understand things from their perspective, not ours.

People who feel suicidal want...

  • Someone to listen. Someone who will take time to really listen to them. Someone who won't judge, or give advice or opinions, but will give their undivided attention.
  • Someone to trust. Someone who will respect them and won't try to take charge. Someone who will treat everything in complete confidence.
  • Someone to care. Someone who will make themselves available, put the person at ease and speak calmly. Someone who will reassure, accept and believe. Someone who will say, "I care."

People who feel suicidal do not want...

  • To be alone. Rejection can make the problem seem ten times worse. Having someone to turn to makes all the difference. Just listen.
  • To be advised. Lectures don't help. Nor does a suggestion to "cheer up", or an easy assurance that "everything will be okay." Don't analyze, compare, categorize or criticize. Just listen.
  • To be interrogated. Don't change the subject, don't pity or patronize. Talking about feelings is difficult. People who feel suicidal don't want to be rushed or put on the defensive. Just listen.

Someone you know is suicidal
http://www.save.org/index.cfm?page_id=705E1907-C4DD-5D32-2C7087CE5924CCA4

What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal?
http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/whattodo.htm

How you can help a suicidal person...
www.thetrevorproject.org/how_to_help_someone.aspx

Handling a call from a suicidal person...
http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/sphone.htm

How to help a suicidal person...
suicide.org/how-to-help-a-suicidal-person.html

When you fear someone may take their life
http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?page_id=F2F25092-7E90-9BD4-C4658F1D2B5D19A0

Disclaimer: The information provided through TransFaith InterSections is intended to help educate transgender people and our allies about transgender health concerns. The information provided is general in nature and is not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Feedback, suggestions, and corrections are welcome. Please contact us by email or by phone (215-840-2858)!

 

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Break the Silence.