The decision to take their own life can feel, for some, as the only workable solution to overwhelming problems and sad feelings. The problems and feelings themselves are not the issue, but how the individual experiencing them is coping, or feels they are coping, is.
To be able to speak about how you are feeling, what has led to you feeling this way, and whether you have thought about suicide as a vague ‘way out’, or whether you have made specific plans, and most importantly, whether you have the means to take your own life, can be, literally, a lifeline.
Not everyone, whether trained in psychotherapy or medicine, has the time or (let’s face it) the courage to intervene in an effective way, and your friends and family might feel remote and busy with their own lives. Your GP is checking the clock and might well decide on medical intervention, your therapist or care worker may not be skilled enough to pick up on what you are NOT saying, or may ask the wrong questions, your family might dismiss your tentative invitations to be heard because they cannot bear to hear it. No-one can hold you, in a therapeutic way, while you talk. Perhaps they will judge you and even add to the despair.
However, there are more and more people now trained in something called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills). This training aims at enabling those who undertake it to increase the safety of those with thoughts of suicide. It can be thought of as suicide first aid.
As a trained suicide ‘first aider’, if you like, I now have the skills to intervene in various ways, and through them I hope to be able to help a person at risk of suicide by connecting them with someone who can help them, by helping them keep safe-for-now, then letting others take over, or by helping with safety now and then offering a chance to look at safety aids for the immediate future.