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How to talk with someone who is in a suicidal crisis – it helps to talk!

People who are in a life crisis need someone with whom they can talk, someone who is willing to really listen to them. It almost always helps to reduce the inner pressure if one can talk with someone about what they are going through; to be able to talk about the oppressive and unbearable feelings, the hopelessness or the thoughts about suicide. Such on open and honest conversation is often a significant step toward recovery from the crisis.

  • If you sense that someone is suffering inside, it is important to go toward the person so that you can counteract their tendency to withdraw and suffer in silence.
  • An example of how you could begin such a conversation could be: “I get the impression that you are not doing well. Would you like to talk about it?”
  • f you get the feeling the person with whom you are talking could be considering suicide, then just ask directly about it! For example you could ask: “Are you feeling so desperate at the moment that the thought about killing yourself has crossed your mind?” Expressions of suicidal thoughts or intentions are often a cry for help and should never be ignored.
  • Ask for the reasons why they are feeling so desperate at the moment and be understanding of their situation and problems. It is important to listen carefully and patiently and to treat them with respect and kindness and patience so that the person affected can feel accepted and can allow someone to “be there” with them, for them. Expressions of suicidal intent should be neither ignored nor should they be overly dramatized.
  • Try to find out if there is someone in their group of friends who could be of help.
  • Encourage the person who is contemplating suicide to seek out the help of their physician or other mental health professionals about their negative thoughts. You can also take an active part in establishing contact with a medical institution.

It is especially important when you are dealing with people in crisis situations that you pay close attention to your own healthy boundaries and that you do not hesitate to seek help for yourself if the situation gets to be too much for you.

Remember: we are here for you.

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