I am taking a class on this soon but...I have siblings who are threatening suicide. I don't know what to do or how to support them.

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If people really want to do it, it's almost impossible to stop them.  But most people are open to being talked out of it.  The thing to do is hold them off doing it for 24 hours, and a grand gesture of support usually helps a lot to make them feel better about life.  Be there for them to talk to. 

If you're worried they're going to do it imminently, phone them.  Or just phone them anyway.  They may be just about to do it, and your phone call or visit would probably stop them. 

My former boss/mentor told me to call the police and let them handle it. He said, "Your people do this to you to pull you into bullshit.".........I think he's right. But I don't know WHY. Why do they reach out to me? Why not other people? Why am I such a target for this sort of thing?

What exactly goes on?  Do you think these people are playing games?  In which case they are using you as a pawn in their game, and you're allowing yourself to be suckered. 

People are often unsympathetic to suicide cases, assuming that they're just trying to work everyone to get attention.  A minority of people do this, most people are genuine and don't do this. 

I would say that even the people who are playing games are semi-serious.  If they are purely playing games, that's a separate issue in itself. 


- because you're a caring person. 

You might get some ideas from this Irish facility.

I have some experience with this, Belle. My sister spent a large part of her twenties fighting bipolar disorder and a regular feature of her downs were suicidal threats. She used to run out of the house threatening to go in front of the traffic and I often had to physically restrain her (It's lucky I'm stronger than her).

My mum and I found the best way was to obviously be there and show that you care but not to get sucked in as your boss mentioned. My sister is very intelligent and would often try and engage us in debates about why we should just let her go. We learned not to get sucked into these conversations and get dragged down but just to continually tell her that we loved her and wanted her to stay.

Partly, she had these debates to try and make us give her permission - to tell her we accepted her decision. We wouldn't do that. In the end she would make it through the phase and then we would enjoy the time until the next one. She is making a steady recovery now but it was hard going. Sorry to hear you are caught up in it.

I am very open minded about assisted suicide, and I support the systems they have in the Netherlands and Switzerland. But even if I lived in such countries and had a sibling who confided to me of suicidal wishes I'd do something similar like you did Simon.. I wouldn't even bother arguing with them of whether to do it or not. I'd just try to share joy/pleasantness of their company. Try to be closer to them and show how much I appreciate them.

When someone feels suicidal, they get caught in a cycle of hopelessness and despair. They feel worthless, alone, and that no one would miss them and there is usually some emotional pain that is the source of all these feelings. They want that pain to end and they feel that there is no other escape. The best thing to do is to physically be in their company to let them know that they aren't alone and that someone cares. If you can't be there, then try to get them to open up about whatever is at the root of all of this. It's hard for anyone in the situation to realize that their pain, while serious, will eventually diminish, but it will. Consider giving them the National Suicide Prevention hotline # (1-800-273-8255). If they aren't being receptive to you, then maybe they will to an anonymous person who is trained to help them.

Well I'm not happy with my life either and have had my own suicide attempts. Doesn't really make me an authority on them.

Are they reaching out to you because they went through the same hardships/abuse that you went through? Or even if you didn't, is it cause they feel close to you and have noone else to turn to?

Of course you don't really have to answer these questions out here in public, or private, just to yourself. But it just might lead to understanding why they're reaching out to you.

If you are very busy with your own life or don't think you have the wherewithal to deal with them then just tell them so but do it sensitivity and responsively. Tell them to try to reach out to others or to find inspiration in music, movies etc.
And/Or if you really have no answer, just say sorry and say so and just let them know you're thinking of them. Maybe you can give them a gift? Yeah if you can find time, then spend time with them maybe in a park or the movies, etc. And nothing says you care like a hug :)

Good luck.

Honestly, TRULY, and unforgivingly... there is nothing anyone can do to stop a suicidal person from FEELING suicidal thoughts. (Not the act of committing it, that's a separate story)

You can temporarily halt the pain and allow them to forget their dark thoughts, but as someone who has struggled with this pain. . . you will never truly help them. An individual in suicide and depression must fight their battle alone. I say that because they conceived their battle with the darkness alone. 

Best I can suggest is for you to just be there for them. Go on walks, pick up a hobby with them, etc. 

After years, the idea of death and suicide became boring for me. I know my life will end one day so I will try my hardest to make the best of it. Of course, each individual is different and I don't anticipate any other individual to come to the same terms that I have. 

The hardest thing for a depressed soul is to be alone in their thoughts. So ask them to talk to you about their feelings and try to keep them engaged as difficult it may be.

Every person who contemplates suicide  has different reasons, so discovering their individual reasons is the first step toward a solution.

You may or may not be able to have a positive effect on their reason for considering suicide.

If you are not a professional at suicide prevention, then I would suggest finding them professional help would be the best course.


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