23 SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS What can you do to help prevent a suicide? Suicide is a taboo subject yet talking about it openly is helpful. A person contemplating suicide needs the support of people who listen and care. If you are concerned that someone you know may be suicidal, take action: - find a place to talk where the person feels comfortable, they need to know that you respect their need for privacy - encourage the individual to express their feelings freely - the single most important thing you can do is to listen attentively without judgment - ask them whether they have considered suicide - bringing up the subject will not cause them to act upon it - talk to them about your concern and fears - they need to know that someone cares - ask whether there is anything you can do - talk about the resources that can give them support - family, friends, clergy, counselling or psychiatric treatment - let them know that you are there to support them, but also know your limits - you cannot do it alone What can you do if you are feeling suicidal? It may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and asking others for help and discussing your feelings can seem like a daunting task. If you reach out however, you will discover that there is help and that you are not alone. Many people have felt suicidal when facing difficult times and have survived, returning to normal lives. If you have these feelings you should: • talk to a trusted friend or family member about your feelings • call a crisis telephone support line • talk to your family physician; he or she can arrange for counselling and/or prescribe medication • get involved in a self-help group and talk to people who have “been there” • understand that you are not in the best shape to make major decisions Suicide (continued) photo created by jcomp Need Help Now? Call The Island Helpline 1-800-218-2885 Available 24-7