SRS Dealing with a suicidal friend

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Todd Bertuzzi, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Todd Bertuzzi

    Todd Bertuzzi New Member

    Sep 29, 2003
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    There's this friend of mine, whom I haven't done anything with in a few months, and we started chatting about getting together this weekend, going bowling and shit. After we've sorted our plans out, he starts talking about how over the past while, he's been thinking about suicide and murder, and has a list of people he'd like to kill, torture, etc. He's normally a pretty cool guy, so I don't know what's happened to cause all of this. I suggested to him the idea of professional counselling, telling him (truthfully) that I had tried it earlier in my life for depression, and it worked wonders. He kept going on about how he doesn't think it will help and that he's got to get this shit sorted out by himself.

    I don't think he's at the point of actually doing anything though. I'll admit that I half-wanted to cancel our plans because of these things that he's telling me, but I decided that would be a pretty low thing to do, so we're still going to get together.

    Anyways long story short what should I do? I know his family, so I can get in touch with them should I need to. I can post the chat transcript if it would help, because no one I know is on OT regularly enough for me to worry about privacy.
  2. dave steel

    dave steel My Kung Fu is the best.

    Feb 22, 2002
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    Iron City
  3. beautiful disaster

    beautiful disaster Active Member

    Oct 13, 2005
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    i would definitely try to talk to someone about getting him some help. don't give up! but do it safely as not to get yourself into trouble. he might think it a low blow to talk to his family and he might be really pissed off (hopefully not pissed enough to put you on his 'list') but if that's what you need to do then do it. otherwise just keep trying to talk to him and get to the bottom of things.
  4. chamorita

    chamorita New Member

    Jul 31, 2005
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    <I don't think he's at the point of actually doing anything though.>

    Don't ever doubt someone that says they are thinking of suicide and/or homicide. Does he really want to? No. I think he is crying out for help because he is actually telling you this. If he really wanted to, he would've done it without telling anyone. He feels this is the only way to solve his problems and by telling you he feels this way, he is actually looking for hope.

    Something I learned in an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST):

    1. Are you having thoughts of suicide? (he's already answered this)
    2. How? How prepared? How soon? (ask about his plan)
    3. Do you have pain that at times feel unbearable?
    4. Do you feel you have few, if any, resources?
    5. Have you ever attempted suicide before?
    6. Are you receiving or have you received mental health care?

    Gathering all the answers, you have to disable his suicide plan. Do not attempt to make it seem as if his problems aren't as big as he thinks they are. Do not tell him he's not suicidal. Do not tell him what you think of his problems, just sympathize with him - people who are suicidal believe that no one else understands and you shouldn't attempt to make it seem like you know exactly what he's going through.
    Tell him that you want to help him because he is important to you. Let him know you want to help, but that he has to help you do that.
    In response to the questions you've asked, here are some tips.
    Q#2: Disable the plan - if he told you he plans on doing it tomorrow (for example), ask him to hold off and plan to be with him tomorrow. If he tells you he has a gun, ask him where it is and ask him to stay away from it while you try to help him.
    Q#3: Ease his pain. Do not give him alcohol, drugs, etc. Instead, ask him about his interests, hobbies, and expand on those things. Let him see that there is light in other things. Let him know that his interests could serve a purpose.
    Q#4: Link him to resources. If he's spiritual, remind him that chaplains/pastors are there for spiritual counseling. Let him know that there are support groups for suicidal people like himself.
    Q#5: If he's attempted before, support his past survival skills.
    Q#6: Link him to a health worker.

    This is only a brief description of ASIST, but I hope it will help. There are many other websites that could help you help him. Please do not doubt his thoughts, get him the help he needs.

    I know I might sound like a quack, but I had to be trained in this and it is a serious issue. Good luck.


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