Friends and Family

Let’s (Really) Talk about Suicide

Let’s (Really) Talk about Suicide

In a week when two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide within days of each other, so did hundreds of other people in the U.S. One of them was named Flinn, a classmate of mine in high school. On Flinn’s public Facebook page, an outpouring of sympathetic posts, one after the other, […]

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When Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Go Away

When Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Go Away

The popular image of someone who is in danger of suicide goes like this: A person has suicidal thoughts. It’s a crisis. The person gets help, and the crisis resolves within days or weeks. That’s the popular image, and thankfully it does happen for many people. But for others, suicidal thoughts do not go away. […]

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10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

Many people desperately want to know what to say – and what not to say – to someone who is thinking of suicide. The article 10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person is SpeakingOfSuicide.com’s most popular post. Almost a half-million people have viewed it in the last 2½ years. Several hundred have left […]

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10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

  “I want to kill myself.”  Those five words are a shock to hear, a dreadful pronouncement from a friend or family member you do not want to lose. You recoil at the thought. How could they want to die? As unwelcome as those words are to your ears, your loved one has handed you […]

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“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

Teenagers who think of suicide often  tell only their friends, and they make the friends promise to keep their suicidal thoughts secret. This puts the friends of a suicidal teen in a bind. Should they break their promise and tell an adult? Telling an adult poses problems. Doing so might end the friendship. The suicidal teen […]

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“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

A friend recently sent me an anguished email about someone she knew whose teenage daughter died the week before. The mother was telling others that the death was an accident, when it was unquestionably a suicide. This saddened my friend greatly – not only the suicide itself, but also the family’s shame, so intense that […]

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“You Can’t Do Everything”: Limitations in Helping a Suicidal Person

“You Can’t Do Everything”: Limitations in Helping a Suicidal Person

Just about every list of “suicide myths” mentions this one: “If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.”  But is it always a myth? In important ways, yes, it is a myth. There are many things that loved ones of a suicidal individual can do to help – things like […]

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Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

“She is not really suicidal. She just wants attention.” “He did not really attempt suicide. It was just a cry for help.” “If she had really wanted to die, she’d be dead.” These are often the reactions of friends and family to a suicidal person. Sometimes, it is true that a person who made what […]

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The People You Would Leave Behind

The People You Would Leave Behind

“I’m a burden. They’ll be better off without me.” “They’ll get over it.” “Nobody will care that I’m gone.” Do you tell yourself any of these things? Many people who think of suicide do. In fact, a leading expert in suicide research, Thomas Joiner Jr., PhD, writes that seeing yourself as a burden to others is a […]

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“How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”

“How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”

What would you say to a person on the roof? That is, if you were called out to a crisis scene, where a young woman sat on the roof of a tall building weeping and shouting that she would jump at any moment, what would you say to her? This provocative question – What would […]

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