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 Post subject: Suicide, Self-Harm, Life-Threatening Situations
PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:35 am 
orange is a state of mind
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Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:37 am
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
WeBiteBack is not a professional service. We are a peer-support forum. Many non-members are also not emergency social service professionals, and even those with degrees in Social Work, Psychology, Health Services,Youth Work may not be equipped to respond to friends or others at risk of suicide, self-harm or other life-threatening situations (such as violence in relationships).

These forums offer as many resources as we can for people in crisis and those communicating with them, whether by phone, text, electronically or in person. Each subforum contains as much information as we can garner at this point to phone numbers to local and national crisis lines and specific URLs where we have them.

Below are some thoughts about what to do when someone you know is at risk of suicide or self-harm.

How can I help a person who feels suicidal?

Learning that someone you care about feels suicidal often marks the beginning a stressful time.

This news could come as a shock to you. There might be part of you that doesn't want to know any more about it or deal with it. You might be unsure of what to say and/or worried that what you say will make things worse. It might touch on your own beliefs about life and death.

You might also experience many different feelings in response to this news, such as panic, fear, frustration, anger, resentment, helplessness, hopelessness and distress.

All are understandable reactions to a serious situation and indicators of a need to look after your own wellbeing too during this crisis (See Looking after yourself). However, it is important not to let these feelings and reactions get in the way of talking openly with the person you are concerned about, so that you can begin to understand their pain and estimate their risk of attempting suicide. If you appear calm and confident in your approach to the suicidal crisis, this can be very reassuring for a person who is feeling suicidal.

The suicidal crisis – a mental/psychological injury?

An analogy that people sometimes find helpful in trying to understand a suicidal crisis is to imagine that it is like an emotional or psychological injury for the person. Whilst the situation is not necessarily as simple or straightforward as this, it might help you to roughly understand what the person is going through.

The role that you as a support person play initially is therefore similar to performing First Aid. That is, you assist the suicidal person to 'stop the emotional bleeding' and support the suicidal person to access professional mental health supports.

You wouldn't take on the responsibility of fixing your partner's/relative's/friend's broken limb or treating their heart attack – you would support the person to get the assistance of a professional such as a doctor or surgeon.

In the same way, it is best for you to encourage the person you are concerned about to seek the assistance of mental health professionals, such as a doctor or psychologist.

This does not mean that you won't have an important role to play in the long term for the person you are concerned about. They will continue to greatly benefit from your care and support and ability to offer them a 'listening ear' when needed along the way.

We are here as friends, which makes it too emotionally draining to act as a professional anyway. If you feel that you or someone you know is getting to a crisis/emergency state then it is important that you refer to these numbers for help from persons trained and able to provide real life assistance.


Last edited by peacefullyKeira on Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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