Dr Maymunah, my best friend just attempted suicide, her boyfriend of almost six years just told her he’s no longer interested in their relationship. They have already made plans for their wedding and both families have met. He broke up with her over the phone. I think she is suicidal and I need advice on what steps to take to get her help.
At this point in her life, she needs all the care, love and encouragement. What you should know if you are worried about your friend: Suicides are preventable and it is okay to talk about suicide. Asking about suicide does not provoke the act of suicide. It often reduces anxiety and helps people feel understood. Some of the warning signs that someone may be seriously thinking about suicide are- threatening to kill oneself, saying things like “No-one will miss me when I am gone”, looking for ways to kill oneself, such as seeking access to pesticides, firearms or medication, or browsing the internet for means of taking one’s own life, saying goodbye to close family members and friends, giving away of valued possessions, or writing a will. You must ensure all dangerous weapons are taken away from her and she should not be left alone if you suspect she is suicidal. The people who are at risk of suicide are; people who have previously tried to take their own lives, someone with depression or an alcohol or drug problem, those who are suffering from severe emotional distress, for example following the loss of a loved one or a relationship break-up (like what your friend is experiencing), people suffering from chronic pain or illness, people who have experienced war, violence, trauma, abuse or discrimination, those who are socially isolated.
These are what you can do for her:
Find an appropriate time and a quiet place to talk about suicide with the person you are worried about. Let her know that you are there to listen. Encourage the person to seek help from a professional, such as a doctor, mental health professional, or counsellor. Offer to accompany her to an appointment. If you think the person is in immediate danger, do not leave her alone. Seek professional help from the emergency services, a crisis line (Suicide help line, such as 08099731259), or a health-care professional, or turn to family members. If you are worried about her, ensure that she does not have access to means of self-harm (for example pesticides, firearms or medication) in the home. Stay in touch to check how she is doing. Remember: If you know someone who may be considering suicide, talk to them about it. Listen with an open mind and offer your support.