Helping the Suicidal

This week I read an article in the New York Times about a man who was accused of going to Internet chat rooms and encouraging people who were suicidal to commit suicide. As someone who works with depressed people, I  found this act to be beyond belief, especially since this person was a nurse.

When someone is suicidal, he or she needs to told the opposite–i.e., “Don’t act on your impulses, because the pain you now experience is passing, and then you will feel like living again.”

When my clients have followed this advice, things have turned out well. One man who was bent on taking his life eight years ago resisted the temptation (with help from others) and is how happily married and enjoying life. From his current perspective, his previous suicidal pain is but a distant memory.

The moral of the story is clear. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The problem is temporary because nothing stays the same forever. What goes down must come up. The dark moods of depression will pass if you can find a way to hang in there. As they say in AA, “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle!”

4 Responses to “Helping the Suicidal”

  • JCB:

    As a nurse myself, it is so disheartening to hear of such hateful and harmful behavior from a fellow nurse.
    Douglas, I know that you have helped so many people with your support groups and books. It is people like you who outweigh this negative, ugly story. Thank you for all that you do to bring light and healing to those who suffer with depression and other mental illnesses.

  • Phineas:

    Great post. Thanks!

  • SK:

    This past month I had a friend, someone I had just gotten to know
    in the summer, commit suicide. Besides being terribly sad for him,
    I was frustrated that attempting suicide myself years ago
    did not give me super powers. I didn’t see it coming. He seemed to be
    getting better. Having been there, being a compassionate person
    still didn’t make it so I could help. I am grateful for your words.
    I would have used them if I knew how badly he was hurting. Are there
    signs that we can look for that might not be so obvious?

  • I learned a lot from this post, much appreciated! 🙂

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