Normally on Wednesday’s I do a book review, however something more important came up yesterday that I thought we should discuss instead.
Trigger warning: Suicide
Around 3pm yesterday I got a Facebook message that I pray I never get again. “I’m going to kill myself. You were awesome.” My heart stopped, I couldn’t breath, and all I wanted to do was save my friend.
I was at work when this happened, and I’m so grateful that my bosses understood what I was going though. They let me hide in the office until I could make sure he was safe and sound.
But I realized, as I was going through the steps to find my friend, that not everyone knows what to do when they get a text like that. So I thought I would give you a step by step guide on how to handle suicide attempts.
1. Breath! You are not responsible for another person’s life and you can’t help anyone if you’re in the middle of a crisis. This is a step I always forget to do, which was made very clear as I had a full blown panic attack in the middle of the restaurant.
2. Try to figure out where they are. If you can get them to answer you stay on the line with them as long as you can. Get them talking and figure out where they are. If you have to call other people and work together to find them.
3. Get help to them. Rather it’s you or an ambulance, get help to them ASAP. If you know for a fact you can talk them down and it’s safe for you to go, do so. But if there is any chance you won’t make it in time please call 911 first. In my case, my friend would not answer his phone. It took me a while to figure out where he was at, but as soon as I did I got police on the way.
4. Don’t worry about them being mad at you. I would rather you be mad than dead. They will get over it because they know that you just want them to be safe.
5. Breath! Once you’ve followed all of the above steps and you know they are safe please take time to take care of yourself. The thought of losing someone is traumatizing and you need to take care of yourself as soon as you can.
6. Follow up with them. Check in as soon as you can, make sure they are okay, and offer support. Recommend therapy options in a nonjudgmental way. Let them know that your still there for them and that you don’t think any less of them. This is a hard thing for everyone involved and everything said should be from a place of love.
I hope this helps you in the off chance you ever get that phone call or text. I pray that you don’t, but I understand that the world just doesn’t work like that sometimes.
If you’re feeling suicidal and you need help but don’t feel safe calling friends or family please call your local emergency services or suicide hotline. There is always someone who can help.