Disarm the Sufferer and the Place of Residence

Direct Intervention

Intervening to save the life of a suicidal youth means conveying a sense of hope: you must be warm and very, very human in your approach. A spirit of simplicity and humility on your part is absolutely necessary. Without humility in your heart, you’ll never find the right way to approach a distressed person. You want to convey, from the heart, why life is worthwhile, and what can be done to alleviate the sufferer’s emotional burdens.

The following advice is the product of trial and error, of years of efforts by many, many suicide prevention workers, including Raymond Viger. Here, then, is how you should approach a suicidal teen, youth, or anyone in such deep distress, for that matter.

Disarm the Sufferer and the Place of Residence

The questions you’ve asked have hopefully elicited. Some valuable information about the distressed person’s plans. If they have decided to use a firearm, and they have access to such a weapon, ask whether someone in their entourage can keep the gun for a while until the sufferer’s thoughts clear up.

If the method of suicide the distressed person is openly considering involves medication, then ask if you or someone else can destroy the medicine, or at least give it to someone for safekeeping. If the sufferer is on medication, try to determine the toxicity of their prescription, and if it’s dangerous (if for example one bottle taken all at once would kill). Find out if someone can keep the prescription and mete out the required dosage when necessary.

If a specific place has been chosen for the act of suicide, make the sufferer promise not to go there alone. If it’s the person’s residence, try to get them to stay with parents or friends until the danger passes. If you can, talk to their friends and family to make sure the sufferer is disarmed. There should be no weapons or toxic substances in the suf ferer’s immediate vicinity at all times.

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).


Add a Comment

Votre adresse courriel ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *