Supporting a Depressive Buddy

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Author’s Response

A really close friend of mine who I recently graduated from mindset is suicidal, self-harming, and sad. 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 just give it my all. We merely communicate via text on a daily basis. We don’t frequently meet, we never talk on the phone, and occasionally, even when we have ideas, he abruptly cancels them. In the end, maintaining his trust is essential because he is the only man in his life. How should I proceed? May I offer him some room or try to assist him in another way?

Response from a psychologist

It can be difficult to feel helpless and powerless when people close to you is dealing with suicidal thoughts and despair. You have, nevertheless, already taken the first step toward assisting and making a difference: you have observed. Sometimes it can have a huge and positive impact just to notice and express issue. Many people are familiar with someone who struggles with depression, and some may even be acquainted with a close friend who has committed or attempted murder. Every year, more than 30,000 Americans commit murder, and about 800,000 make an attempt. Although it’s a quite prevalent issue, the stigma associated with it prevents us from speaking up about it, which is what we truly need to do 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? The answer is no, definitely not. The depressive person may actually relieve anxiety and feel connected to encouraging people like you by discussing the emotional content surrounding suicide, such as depression and hopelessness. Don’t let the fact that the conversation is often comfortable deter you. It’s acceptable to become clear if you suspect someone is thinking about it. The information that it’s not OK to talk about it can be conveyed by skirting the subject or beating around the tree. You could just state,” With the pain you’re in, I was wondering if you might have thought about hurting yourself ,” 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 they intend to do something like remove artillery or troves of medications, working with them to restrict their exposure to their strategies is simpler. It’s not the answer to ignore it and only hope it will go ahead. Don’t allow ease or issues deter you from asking. Asking is beneficial because it demonstrates your attention.

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Notably, friends should never consent to discussing suicidal ideas in private. Privacy forbids people from discussing it. 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 isolated and depressed. 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 suicidal 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’ve gotten them talking.

The next step in helping is actually quite simple: just be silent 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. Do not believe that you must address or resolve their issues. Many people are now aware of what they must do to think better. They simply require encouragement and support to complete it. Their desire to find solutions is frequently stifled by depression. They may be able to make progress toward healing with your help and encouragement.

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

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24 / 7 and is free, confidential, and available at 1 – 800 273 TALK( 8255 ), is one source. If talking to someone is too nervous, there are even online crisis facilities and crisis action via Skype or chatting.

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

Please review the Important Disclaimer.

One or more clinical psychology or other qualified mental health professionals have peer reviewed all of the medical content on this website. Initially released by Dr. Peter Thomas, PhD on, and most recently reviewed or updated by Managing Editor onDr. Greg Mulhauser.

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