Letter from a Therapist to a Suicidal Person

Letter from a Therapist to a Suicidal Person

When you come to me for help, I want to help you. I hope you will let me. I cannot know your secrets without your words. I hope you will tell me. Tell me, please, your thoughts of suicide. You might feel scared to tell me When I ask you if you are thinking of suicide. I […]

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Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note

Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note

Suicide causes so much devastation in the living – so many overwhelming feelings, so many should-have-done’s and could-have-been’s, so many questions. Amid such heartbreak, many survivors also agonize about why their loved one did not leave a suicide note. Melinda McDonald, a blogger who lost her husband to suicide, wrote about this agony in a […]

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What is a Suicide Gesture?

What is a Suicide Gesture?

Many clinicians and researchers advocate for abandoning the term “suicide gesture,” but its use still persists. Over the last few years, several definitions have been reported: “…A suicide gesture is like a one person play in which the actor creates a dramatic effect, not by killing or even attempting to kill himself, but by feigning […]

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Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

A 61-year-old man, E.H., survived suicide attempts, received care for depression in psychiatric hospitals, and battled alcoholism for many years. His father died by suicide. E.H. was convinced that one day he, too, would kill himself. In 1961, he fatally shot himself in the head. Was his suicide inevitable? Ernest Hemingway, the famous author and the […]

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Like Clouds Before the Sun: Mindfulness and Suicidal Thoughts

Like Clouds Before the Sun: Mindfulness and Suicidal Thoughts

Too often, people who think of suicide regard their thoughts as truth. They believe them. In a twist on the famous saying “I think, therefore I am,” suicide’s lie is, “I think I should kill myself, therefore I should kill myself.” It doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn to mindfully observe suicidal […]

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Should Therapists Attend the Funeral of a Client who Dies by Suicide?

Should Therapists Attend the Funeral of a Client who Dies by Suicide?

The loss of a client to suicide is devastating. If as a therapist you experience this tragic loss, you may go through the familiar questions that beleaguer all suicide survivors. Could I have done something differently? Why couldn’t I prevent their suicide? There is another question for mental health professionals that is not talked about […]

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Talking Back to Suicidal Thoughts

Talking Back to Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal thoughts take different forms. Some politely knock on the door. You let them in, entertain them a bit, and then they leave. But suicidal thoughts can also be most unwelcome. In such cases, you do not want to think of suicide. The thoughts still come. They invade. They refuse to leave. So What Can […]

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How to Find a Therapist Who Does Not Panic about Suicide

How to Find a Therapist Who Does Not Panic about Suicide

A huge fear of many people who think about suicide is that they will go to a therapist who panics at the mention of the word “suicide.” Some therapists do, in fact, panic. This can take several forms. A panicky therapist may all too quickly recommend psychiatric hospitalization, even when it is not really necessary. […]

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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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Do You Blame Yourself for Thinking of Suicide?

Do You Blame Yourself for Thinking of Suicide?

“I had no idea what I had done to you, although I should have known it in retrospect. So I guess now is a good time to say I am sorry, although it is about 19 years too late.” Those words came from a dear friend of mine who went through a prolonged suicidal crisis […]

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