How to Help a Friend in Crisis

There are a lot of factors that lead people to contemplate and eventually, commit suicide. For some, it is a result of underlying psychiatric illness, and for others, stress and trauma play a pivotal role. The fact remains that no one wants to die if they believe that they have a reason to live. No matter the cause, attempted suicide is a cry for help and as one book puts it, “suicides are generally an attempt, albeit misguided, to escape unbearable pain.” If you have a friend in Crisis here are a few tips that can help you help them prevent Suicide. Please note that even though masculine pronouns have been adopted for this article, the suggestions mentioned apply to both genders.

  1. Be observant:

Pay close attention to what your friend says. The slightest of hints in his words could be just the opening you need to strike up a conversation on the road to getting him help. Take seriously any of his statements that tend to send a message that he feels helpless or hopeless. Also, understand that people who contemplate suicide may not voice out their desire to carry it out. But, as they say, actions speak louder than words. So, observe your friend’s action and inactions. If for example, he has endured a traumatic event and yet doesn’t seem to show feeling or want to confront his emotions, this could also be a red flag. Other red flags could be sudden reclusion, drug and alcohol usage, insomnia, hypersomnia or unusual impulsiveness.

  1. Validate their feelings:

Instead of brushing aside or minimizing your friend’s feelings, it is important that you acknowledge them as doing the former will only make him bottle up his emotions. Do not assume that they are just trying to seek attention. Instead of saying things like “I understand how you feel”, say “I can only imagine the pain you are going through”. By your words and actions, tell and show them you care and that they can confide in you. After all, a problem shared, they say, is a problem shared.

  1. Continuous support:

Sometimes, suicidal thoughts may just be a passing phase. However, the mere fact that they existed in the contemplation of your friend is ample reason to stay in contact with him. Remind him constantly that you still value him even after the crisis has subsided. Keeping in contact with him reassures him that you will always be there for him without judgment if there is a relapse and that way, he wouldn’t feel so alone.

  1. Encourage him to get help:

Even if your friend seems to have overcome an initial crisis, it is important that you tactfully urge him to seek professional help to resolve any underlying medical issue. You could even offer to accompany him. Do not tarry if you believe that your friend is going to harm himself.Suicide is a silent plague. You can do your part to reduce its scourge just by being a friend.