In school, they never teach us how to talk somebody out of suicide. I don’t know if I’d ever be put in that situation, but I feel like we should all be prepared to do so, considering how competitive my high school is. I want to be able to know how to do this, to know I helped. If I say the wrong things, wouldn’t it just convince them even more to go home and commit? Then we’d feel survivor’s guilt and, depending on how you handle situations like that, things can get very, very bad. I’m not depressed or suicidal or ever have been and I don’t personally know anybody feeling that way, but if the situation ever comes up, I would like to be able to do the right things and save a life, instead of living with yourself and knowing that you maybe could’ve done better.
Thank for all your help, such a great organization
Letter submitted by:
We’re so glad you wrote to us about your personal concerns should a friend be suicidal. Your feelings are certainly understandable, as such feelings are often difficult to handle for those left behind after a suicide. Sometimes the trauma is unbearable. And in many cases, suicide is so preventable. Sadly you are also right about not being taught about the subject of suicide in school. I suspect that it’s because most educators probably don’t know enough about it themselves. Plus it’s a sensitive subject. You’re a very perceptive person; as you point out, there could be the risk of messing up, which is why one needs to be properly educated in the first place.
There are a number of sites on the internet that you’ll find very helpful. One is the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program at: http://www.masonicmodel.org/ which is a national program for teaching teachers and school administrators how to spot and deal with troubled kids. It is a free, comprehensive program that covers many subjects, including suicide, among others, and is sponsored by the Free and Accepted Masons fraternity, commonly called the Masonic Lodges. The Grand Lodge of New Jersey has a connection with the national MMSAP and is scheduled to hold a training session there on May 21-23, 2014. You can contact your local Masonic lodge via this link: http://www.newjerseygrandlodge.org/lodges1.html and let them know your interest in the MMSAP for your school system. Then get your teachers, school guidance councilors, and/or administrators interested in taking the course, with the objective of then teaching the students how to best watch for and handle anyone who is potentially suicidal. It certainly would be the proactive way of avoiding much of the aftermath trauma that would no doubt result from a student’s suicide loss.
Another is our own site at: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/suicide-prevention which gives you a lot of information about what to look for, along with valuable links to other informative sites.
Still another is http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide which helps with the aftermath of a suicide. All these sites and links should give you a good education on the subject.
Sadly, while we can never prevent ALL suicides, the better educated and observant we all are, the better able we can all be to prevent as many as possible. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and all of life’s problems are temporary. It’s when those problems become more than a person can cope with that it becomes an option for them. Those around that person need to be taught how to recognize it and see it coming, so as to be able to reach out to them and properly intervene. And if such is not successful in preventing tragedy, the survivors need the skills to cope with what the loss means to themselves.
You are very wise, and so right. education IS the key! Thank you for writing. And we wish you all the best in your efforts.