A Few Basic Facts (Part IV)

Let’s demystify the process. Here are a few basic facts:

  • Music and movies can’t motivate a person to suicide. Suicide results from a troubled soul, not because a rapper advocates the act.
  • We shouldn’t brush off a suicidal person. Some think that the best therapy is tough love: Go ahead, jump, see if I care… Will that change someone’s mind about ending it all? This approach often backfires: it pushes the sufferer to extreme action.
  • A sudden upswing in a person’s mood doesn’t mean that the risk has passed. Often there is a calm before the storm. The mind is made up; a plan is in place; affairs are put in order; the stage is set for the final act…
  •  It’s useless to tell the sufferer: You’re all upset over nothing. Everything will work out. You’ll see. There are people far worse off than you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Leave me alone. No one wants to go to your pity party… Let the sufferer express his or her worries and fears.
  • Focus on the crisis of the moment. Identify what exactly is driving the sufferer to despair at that precise instant. The sufferer should be told that no one can get through such dark times on their own. Everyone needs help. Outside resources, including friends, should be drawn upon to work on problems – and as soon as possible.

Book excerpt from Quebec Suicide Prevention Handbook (2014), Éditions TNT

Suicide Prevention Hotlines:

Québec: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553).  CLSCs can also help you.
Canada: Canada Suicide Prevention Service 833-456-4566
U.S.: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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