Frequently Asked Questions about Suicide
8. Help? Psychotherapy? Isn’t psychotherapy or counseling just a waste of time?
Certainly it is true that psychotherapy is not a magic cure-all. It will be effective only if it empowers a person to build the sort of relationships they need for long-term support. It is not a “solution” in itself, but it can be a vital, effective and helpful step along the way.
9. Talk, talk, talk. It’s all just talk. How’s that going to help?
While it’s not a long-term solution in itself, asking a person and having them talk about how they feel greatly reduces their feelings of isolation and distress, which in turn significantly reduces the immediate risk of suicide. People that do care may be reluctant to be direct in talking about suicide because it’s something of a taboo subject.
In the medium and longer term, it’s important to seek help to resolve the problems as soon as possible; be they emotional or psychological. People who have previously attempted suicide are more likely to attempt suicide again, so it’s very important to get unresolved issues sorted out with professional help or psychotherapy as necessary.
Some issues may never be completely resolved by psychotherapy or counseling, but a good therapist should be able to help a person deal with them constructively at present, and to teach them better coping skills and better methods of dealing with problems which arise in the future.
10. How do telephone counseling and suicide hot-line services work?
Different services vary in what they offer, but in general you can ring up and speak anonymously to a counselor or therapist about any sort of problem in a no-pressure context that’s less threatening than a face-to-face session. Talking the situation over with a caring, independent person can be of great assistance
whether you’re in a crisis yourself, or worried about someone else who is, and they usually have connections with local services to refer you to if further help is required. You don’t have to wait until the deepest point of crisis or until you have a life-threatening problem before you seek help.
Demand for telephone services vary, so the most important thing to remember is that if you can’t get through on one, keep trying several until you do. You should usually get through straight away, but don’t give up or pin your life on it. Many people that feel suicidal don’t realize that help can be so close, or don’t think to call at the time because their distress is so overwhelming.
11. What about me; am I at risk?
It’s quite likely that some people that read this will one day attempt suicide, so here’s a quick suicide prevention exercise: think of a list of 5 people who you might talk to if you had no-one else to turn to, starting with the most preferred person at the top of the list. Form a “no-suicide contract” with yourself promising that if you ever feel suicidal you will go to each of the people on this list in turn and simply tell them how you feel; and that if someone didn’t listen, you’d just keep going until you found someone that
would. Many suicide attemptors are so distressed that they can’t see anywhere to turn in the midst of a crisis, so having thought beforehand of several people to approach would help.
Psych Central. (2013). Frequently Asked Questions about Suicide. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 2, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/frequently-asked-questions-about-suicide/