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How to Help a Suicidal Friend


1. NEVER LEAVE A SUICIDAL PERSON ALONE, until parents or designates can take charge.
2. NEVER SWEAR SECRECY when it comes to any "life threatening" situation.
3. Express your concerns. Speak directly. Ask them if they intend to kill themselves.
4. Accept what they say, and always treat any suicidal threat as serious. Never ignore the threat.
5. Talk in respectful, but frank terms. Listen attentively. AVOID GIVING GLIB ADVICE.
6. Don't say "everything will be all right." The promise may not be true in some cases.
7. Never delay dealing with the issue. If possible, explore causal factors and needs for change.
8. Explore other ways in which the suicidal person can be evaluated and further supported.
9. If a suicidal person resists help, and the threat is immediate, call the police and the parents.

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If you have a friend who is clinically depressed, the best things you can do for them is to encourage them to follow their doctor's orders, support them in their efforts to get well, and give them a degree of privacy when it comes to their illness. Don't try to "fix" them, push them to talk or bombard them with your "expert" opinions. Instead, give them room so that they don't feel as if they'er under a microscope-as if you're taking note of every minor improvement or temporary failure in their progress toward healing. Give them space without backing out of their life They don't need another doctor or therapist, and they definitely don't need more pressure from the people around them. They simply need a friend who loves them, who will stand beside them, and who has the faith to believe that they will get well.

Basic Elements To Consider When Addressing A Suicidal Young Person

1. One does not encourage a young person by talking about the issue. Don't fear addressing it.
2. Suicidal tendencies are not inherited. Some young people will fear that possibility.
3. If the suicidal student makes improvement, the suicide risk is decreased, but can still exist.
4. There is no such thing as "a lost cause" when someone is suicidal.
5. Never assume that talk of suicide is simply a manipulation for attention. What if you are wrong?
6. If the suicidal person is in counseling or therapy, don't assume they are safe from suicide.
7. Suicide never just comes "out of the blue." There are always personal reasons for the feelings.
8. Just because a person is suicidal doesn't mean suicide will always be an option.
9. Having previously failed an attempted suicide doesn't protect someone from another attempt.

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Understanding depression in a friend or family member

Depression is a serious condition. Donít underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a personís energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one canít just ďsnap out of itĒ by sheer force of will.

The symptoms of depression arenít personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he or she loves most. In addition, depressed people often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.

Hiding the problem wonít make it go away. Donít be an enabler. It doesnít help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.

You canít ďfixĒ someone elseís depression. Donít try to rescue your loved one from depression. Itís not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. Youíre not to blame for your loved oneís depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.