Saturday, October 08, 2011

Teen who made encouraging video on bullying commits suicide

It is difficult to know what to do when someone you love is struggling with depression. This story reminded me that we should always watch out for others.  Even though we cannot control their thoughts and actions; cannot prevent tragedy - we can do some things and perhaps it will help.  Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  • Approach, don't stay away.  
  • Ask: how do you feel emotionally?  Ask: can you tell me a thought that seems to run through your head?  Ask: have you talked to a doctor?  Ask: what, if anything, seems to help?
  • Advise someone who is deeply depressed and/or suicidal to call their doctor.  If they are already being treated, urge them to call their doctor to give them an update.  If they don't have a doctor, see if they will call a helpline or let you call for them and find out how to get a doctor.  
Especially for teens, acknowledge the reluctance to get help.  Explain that it is necessary the same way that getting treated for a broken bone is necessary.  Make sure they have access to a hotline.  Have them put a post-it note on their computer.  They can write the number backwards and say it is a password.

SAFETY:  Someone who is having thoughts of suicide should be taken to the hospital.  Someone who is having suicidal thoughts should not be left alone.  Those who are suicidal don't get over it quickly - it takes time to treat depression.  Medication and counseling can and will help but not overnight so remain vigilant.

Note:  I am not a mental illness professional!  Please seek help from your doctor, pastor, school counselor or other professional whether you are the depressed person or someone who is concerned and wants to help.