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Phase III: Becoming a Peer Advocate Photo by Don LaVange on Flickr
Becoming a Peer Advocate To help HOPE Squad members understand and gain the skills and knowledge to help a fellow student who may be suicidal. Copyright © Huds LLC
Know the importance of breaking the code of silence (not keeping deadly secrets). Know the questions to ask when someone may be depressed or suicidal. Know what communication to avoid when helping someone who may be depressed or suicidal. Copyright © Huds LLC Objectives
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted. Most people who kill themselves don't want to die— they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking every suicide threat seriously. Copyright © Huds LLC
If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. Copyright © Huds LLC
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it's difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option. Copyright © Huds LLC Understanding & Preventing Suicide
Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of hopelessness and isolation, a suicidal person can't see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to taking their life, but they just can't see one. Copyright © Huds LLC
If you see suicide warning signs in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say something. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it's natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help - the sooner the better. Copyright © Huds LLC Speak up if you’re worried
Copyright © Huds LLC Talk Frankly One of the worst things for a person considering suicide is feeling that no one understands or cares about him or her. These people are often extremely frustrated over talking with friends and family only to find that they are placated with statements like, "Oh, you'll feel better soon - this too shall pass."
Copyright © Huds LLC Talk Frankly Suicidal people feel like they've been trying to tell others how much pain they are in, but nobody hears them. The key is to help this person stop feeling invisible.
Copyright © Huds LLC Talk Frankly Saying, "Are you thinking of killing yourself?” “Do you have a plan for doing it?" can bring tremendous relief to someone considering suicide.
“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.” “Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.” “I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.” Copyright © Huds LLC How to Start a Conversation about Suicide
“When did you begin feeling like this?” “Did something happen that made you feel this way?” “How may I best support you right now?” “Have you thought about getting help?” Copyright © Huds LLC Questions You Can Ask
“You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.” “You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.” “Let’s get help together.” “Let’s go see someone you trust.” Copyright © Huds LLC What You can Say to Help
“I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.” “When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute – whatever you can manage.” Copyright © Huds LLC What You can Say to Help
Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it. Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, ventilate anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign. Copyright © Huds LLC Talking to Someone Who is Suicidal…
Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or peer is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings. Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you. Copyright © Huds LLC Talking to Someone Who is Suicidal…
If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on.” You saying, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” will not put ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you. Copyright © Huds LLC Talking to Someone Who is Suicidal…
Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: "You have so much to live for." "Your suicide will hurt your family.” “Look on the bright side.” Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong. Adapted from: Metanoia.org Copyright © Huds LLC Don’t…
Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you need to speak to tell an adult about your concerns. Adapted from: Metanoia.org Copyright © Huds LLC Don’t…
Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend. Blame yourself. You can’t “fix” someone’s depression. Your friend’s happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility. Adapted from: Metanoia.org Copyright © Huds LLC Don’t…
Most Important Take Action – Get Help from an Adult with or without your friend Copyright © Huds LLC
Discussion & Questions Copyright © Huds LLC
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