What would you say to a suicidal person?

  1. I am just curious as to what people believe is the purpose of life. If you saw a person getting ready to jump off a bridge what kind of words of advice or wisdom would you offer? I have to drive over a bridge on my way to work and I have often wondered what would be the right thing to say to stop a jumper. Thanks
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   PennyLane
    Wow, that's a tough one. I'm doing my psych rotation right now. I think I would get the person to talk about why they want to end their life and be empathetic. Don't be judgemental and try to appreciate their feelings. Sometimes ppl see suicide as a solution to a problem, but don't really realize it's a permanent solution. Let them know that help is available. Display a caring attitude--perhaps they just need a shoulder to cry on. Saying things like, "you have so much to live for" probably won't help that much.

    Any psych nurses here to comment?
  4. by   bigmona
    i volunteered at a crisis hotline for 2 years and we were trained to handle these kinds of calls. it can be really difficult to get through to someone if they're in such a dark place that they want to kill him or herself. i would start by empowering them a LOT and let them know it takes a hell of a lot of courage to talk about their issues and open up. use phrases like "kill yourself" to emphasize the extremity of the situation, and avoid saying things like "end your life" or "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem". i would not offer advice. i'd try to listen, reflect what they're saying and let them know that i understand. i would offer open ended suggestions like "how would you feel about seeing a therapist?" but most importantly - if they're that close to jumping off a bridge, i'd call 911 asap and THEN try to talk and stay with them. get them to a safe place first. the very first thing that should be done if someone's thinking about suicide is to disarm the situation. if they already have begun to take action, get medical attention, get them to a hospital.

    i'm sure psych nursing is much different than what i'm used to as a hotline counselor and i'm looking forward to doing a psyc rotation to learn how. but i'm not a nurse or a licensed therapist and if i was confronted with someone suicidal, i'd try to get them to the hospital, and from there to a place where they can seek long term treatment.
  5. by   Dr. Gonzo
    I would tell them to think of their loved ones and how much it would hurt them if they killed them selves and if that doesnt work i would what this guy did.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,115450,00.html
  6. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks everyone for your great ideas! That sure is amazing about that 92 year old man saving that jumper! He is much braver than me.
  7. by   JustOverBroke
    Quote from Blackcat99
    I am just curious as to what people believe is the purpose of life. If you saw a person getting ready to jump off a bridge what kind of words of advice or wisdom would you offer? I have to drive over a bridge on my way to work and I have often wondered what would be the right thing to say to stop a jumper. Thanks
    The first thing I would do is try not to stardle them and approach them quietly as I stood to the side of them at least 3ft away. I would ask them what is wrong and why they were on a bridge. They would of course be defensive and try to threaten their life to have me leave them alone. I would say "It looks like you are in a lot of pain right now, or you wouldn't be doing this". "Do you really want to die, or make the pain go away". I would then open up options of positive alternatives other than suicide. I would also help the SI pt not feel alone by saying "I will be here until you come down, and I will not let you be alone." Next I would try to get them to sit down and talk about it over coffee and ask if I can be there friend." The most important thing to do is to ask open ended questions and show by your actions you truely care for them. Be a good listener and read body language. Stay calm and don't over react. During this process I would signal some one to call 911 without the suicidual patient knowing. This may not change the SI person's mind but it would at least give them hope until further helped arrived.
  8. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks JustoverBroke. You have some really good advice on what to do. Thank you. Unfortunately, last week a man died on that bridge. Witnesses said he was just walking on the bridge and he suddenly just dived under a car without any warning. It was very sad and the poor woman who hit him was traumatized by the event too.

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