What does someone want from life
Too many people around me have already left voluntarily. That's why I support friends for life.
Markus Kavka, moderator, journalist and author
Photo: Tom Wagner
Does a friend of yours suffer from depression? Then there are many ways in which you can support him and accompany him on the road to recovery. The first and easiest thing to do is just listen to him.
Our first reaction to people who are depressed or have thoughts of suicide is to try to help them. We give good advice, tell them about our own experiences and try to find solutions.
However, we would do far better to just listen to them for a start.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind if we are really trying to help a suicidal person.
HOW CAN I HELP A SUICIDE RISK FRIEND?
- Listening, listening, listening while showing patience and understanding.
- Ask about specific thoughts of suicide - “How, where, when?”.
- Do not judge or downplay your girlfriend or boyfriend for wanting to kill themselves. Take it seriously
- Remember that a problem that you can handle well can lead to suicide in another person. Take it seriously
- Make further offers to talk to, but only if you can keep them.
- Take your time to think about further steps. Do not be alone with the suicidal attempt you have heard about. Look for contacts such as parents, teachers or advice centers.
- Accompany your girlfriend or boyfriend on the way to the conversation.
Unfortunately, some suicides cannot be prevented because the intentions were not apparent. Don't blame yourself for it.
What do people at risk of suicide not want?
To be alone.
Rejection can often make a problem ten times as bad. To know someone else by your side who is simply there, on the other hand, gives things a completely different face.
Received good advice.
Teachings are of no help. Just like the encouragement 'Cheer up' or your frivolous assurance that 'everything will be fine'. Avoid analyzing, comparing, categorizing, or criticizing.
Don't change the subject, don't feel sorry for yourself, or appear condescending. Talking about feelings is not easy. People who are suicidal do not want to be pushed or put on the defensive.
People tired of life do not look for answers or solutions. They long for a safe place where they can express their fears and worries, be themselves. Listening - really listening - is not easy.
We have to pull ourselves together, not to reply immediately with an answer - to make a comment, not to start talking ourselves, to tell a story or to give advice.
We not only have to react to the facts that we hear from the person concerned, but also to their feelings or emotions. We have to learn to see things from the other person's perspective, not from our own.
5Alive with suicidal thoughts
Take it seriously
Thoughts of suicide must always be taken seriously, even if they are talked about in jest. Talking about suicide has never given anyone the idea to kill themselves.
If you are unsure, trust your gut feeling. Often you are exactly right.
Your friend is bad?
Talk to him about it. Listen to him carefully. Show understanding and be patient.
Where can you find help?
You can reach the telephone counseling service around the clock free of charge on: 0800 111 0 111.
You can contact teachers, school psychologists, parents, emergency services in your city and your family doctor.
Quick help in an emergency
Call the police or the ambulance service at: 112.
Talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend.
Provide first aid.
In a real crisis situation you have to act quickly, otherwise any help will come too late.
Do you know the warning signs?
You should pay attention if ...
... someone isolates himself from friends.
... someone changes their sleeping and eating habits significantly.
... someone no longer cares about things they love.
... someone expresses great hopelessness or is depressed.
Important for you
You cannot help your girlfriend or boyfriend on your own. There are professionals for that. You can help find someone your girlfriend or boyfriend can confide in.
Good friends help each other in an emergency. But you cannot bear this burden alone. Accompany your girlfriend or boyfriend on the way to the conversation.
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