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Helping a Suicidal Friend or Relative
Be quiet and listen!
If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, our first response is to try to help. We offer advice, share our own experiences, try to find solutions.
We'd do better to be quiet and listen. People who feel suicidal don't want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their fears and anxieties, to be themselves.
Listening - really listening - is not easy. We must control the urge to say something - to make a comment, add to a story or offer advice. We need to listen not just to the facts that the person is telling us but to the feelings that lie behind them. We need to understand things from their perspective, not ours.
Here are some points to remember if you are helping a person who feels suicidal.
What do people who feel suicidal want?
Someone to listen. Someone who will take time to really listen to them. Someone who won't judge, or give advice or opinions, but will give their undivided attention.
Someone to trust. Someone who will respect them and won't try to take charge. Someone who will treat everything in complete confidence.
Someone to care. Someone who will make themselves available, put the person at ease and speak calmly. Someone who will reassure, accept and believe. Someone who will say, "I care."
What do people who feel suicidal not want?
To be alone.
Rejection can make the problem seem ten times worse. Having someone to turn to makes all the difference. Just listen.
To be advised.
Lectures don't help. Nor does a suggestion to "cheer up", or an easy assurance that "everything will be okay." Don't analyze, compare, categorize or criticize. Just listen.
To be interrogated.
Don't change the subject, don't pity or patronize. Talking about feelings is difficult. People who feel suicidal don't want to be rushed or put on the defensive. Just listen.
Befrienders Kenya - help I want to kill myself .
The Warning Signs of Suicide - Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs.
The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal - "I can't go on," "Nothing matters any more" or even "I'm thinking of ending it all." Such remarks should always be taken seriously.
Other common warning signs include:
Becoming depressed or withdrawn
Getting affairs in order and giving away valued possessions
Showing a marked change in behavior, attitudes or appearance
Abusing drugs or alcohol
Suffering a major loss or life change
The following list gives more examples, all of which can be signs that somebody is contemplating suicide. Of course, in most cases these situations do not lead to suicide. But, generally, the more signs a person displays, the higher the risk of suicide.
Family history of suicide or violence
Sexual or physical abuse
Death of a close friend or family member
Divorce or separation, ending a relationship
Failing academic performance, impending exams, exam results
Job loss, problems at work
Impending legal action
Recent imprisonment or upcoming release
Breaking the law
Writing about death and suicide
Previous suicidal behavior
Extremes of behavior
Changes in behavior
Physical Changes -
Lack of energy
Disturbed sleep patterns - sleeping too much or too little
Loss of appetite
Sudden weight gain or loss
Increase in minor illnesses
Change of sexual interest
Sudden change in appearance
Lack of interest in appearance
Thoughts and Emotions -
Thoughts of suicide
Loneliness - lack of support from family and friends
Rejection, feeling marginalized
Deep sadness or guilt
Unable to see beyond a narrow focus
Anxiety and stress
Loss of self-worth
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REMEMBER WE ARE HERE FOR YOU
Why Befrienders Kenya?
We are carefully trained and we do not give advice but give full attention, listen and understand what you are going through. We do not impose our religious, political, philosophical or any other beliefs or opinions on anyone who contacts us.
We support everyone, regardless of their background, beliefs and affiliation and our services arefree and confidential: We want to reach everyone and so we do not charge.
You do not have to be religious in any way to volunteer or to get in touch – we talk to people of all faiths and of no faith.
Feeling depressed, anxious, distressed or suicidal ?
We Can Help You
Did you know talking actually helps? Talking about how a person really feels can be like opening a door. Talking puts the person back in control and reveals the choices that they have. Many people feel pressured into
hiding their feelings
out of embarrassment or concern not to burden family or
friends. Make a point
YAKO" and start
HOW OUR SERVICE HELPS
If you're given the time and space to talk things through, you can find a way through your problems.
Befrienders Kenya help you to explore your options so you can make decisions that are right for you.
We want you to feel safe while talking to us, so you can tell us how you’re really feeling.That’s why we take your confidentiality very seriously
We’re always here
We’re always open, round the clock, every single day of the year.
Talking Helped Me -
And because you're talking to a stranger, you don't have to worry about our feelings.
The volunteer I spoke to was very kind, and within five minutes I felt completely comfortable. She let me talk and never once tried to tell me what to do. Wambui
Speaking to Befrienders Kenya gave me the reassurance I needed that everything would be ok.
Suicide prevention strategy - information on mental illness - Befrienders Kenya emotional support helping to prevent suicide with free counselling
Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the
record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.
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