A Depressive Friend’s Assistance

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Writer’s Response

I recently received my psychology degree, and a really close friend of mine is suicidal, self-harming, or depressed. I feel obligated to assist him, but he continues to refuse, thinking that nothing can be done to stop him. I used to believe that depressed people frequently refuse assistance, so I may only give it my all. We communicate every day, but only through words. We never speak on the phone, we don’t match frequently, and occasionally, yet when we have plans in place, he abruptly cancels, declaring himself to be unmotivated. The fact remains that maintaining his trust is essential because it is the only man he confides in. What ought I to accomplish? If I give him some room or try to assist him in another way?

Response from a psychologist

It can be difficult to feel helpless and powerless to have someone close to you who is dealing with depressive feelings and despair. You have, nevertheless, now taken the first step toward assisting and making a difference by noticing. Sometimes it can be very effective and powerful to simply notice and express problem. Many people are familiar with someone who suffers from depression, and some may even be acquainted with a nearby friend who has committed or attempted murder. Every year, over 30,000 Americans commit murder, and about 800,000 attempt death. Although it’s a quite prevalent issue, the shame associated with it prevents us from speaking up about it, which is what we should be doing to help.

One proactive measure that I have observed helps some of my depressive clients is talking about death. But I frequently hear people question,” Didn’t it just promote it if I talk about it?” Will it not simply offer them the plan? No, no really, is the response. The depressive person may actually relieve anxiety and feeling connected to encouraging people like you by discussing the emotional content surrounding suicide, such as depression and hopelessness. Although it’s not always a pleasant talk, don’t let that stop you. It’s acceptable to be honest if you have a sneaking suspicion that someone is considering it. The information that it’s inappropriate to talk about it can be conveyed by avoiding the subject or going around in circles. You could just say,” I was wondering if you might have thought about hurting yourself, given the problems you’re in.” If the response is” yes ,” you might want to find out if they have any specific plans or ways in mind for how they would go about doing it. People who have given death serious thought may have gone ahead and made ideas or taken action to harm themselves. When you know that’s what they intend to do, working with them to restrict their access to their plans, such as removing artillery or pill hideouts, is simpler. It’s not the answer to ignore it and only hope it will go away. Don’t allow ease or issues deter you from asking. Asking is beneficial because it demonstrates your attention.

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Interestingly, friends should never consent to keeping suicidal thoughts private. Individuals are unable to discuss it due to privacy. It’s acceptable to talk to them about who to speak with and who not to. Speaking to some people who may not be very encouraging can really make one feel more sad and alone. But, we must keep them engaged in conversation, and keeping it a secret just stops that.

You’d be amazed at how frequently people are open to discussing it. The majority of depressive people don’t want their lives to stop; instead, they want to find solace and get away from their suffering. Talking about it can make you feel better. It might be simpler than you think to continue the conversation once you get them talking.

The next step in helping is really quite simple: just keep calm and pay attention. The majority of my suicidal consumers claim that when they feel like they have been heard, they frequently feel better for a while. Don’t feel obligated to address or resolve their issues. Many people are now aware of what they must complete to improve their mood. They simply require encouragement and support to complete it. Their desire to find solutions is frequently stifled by despair. They may be able to move toward healing with just your encouragement and hope.

Getting the homicidal individual the assistance they require is where you can be more direct in your assistance. The next crucial step can be to assist them in locating resources like death problems lines, treatments, psychiatrists, and hospitals.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is free, confidential, and available around-the-clock, is one source. It is located at 1 – 800 – 273 TALK( 8255 ). If speaking to someone makes you uncomfortable, there are even online crisis centers and crisis action via Skype or text.

If you want to learn more about death and those who are considering it, please read my article on legends surrounding death.

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One or more scientific psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals peer review all of the medical content on this website. Dr. Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on, past reviewed or updated the work that was originally published by Drs. Peter Thomas, PhD on.

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