How To Be A Resource For A Friend In Need

How To Be A Resource For A Friend In Need

34,000 people every year commit suicide. We can do something to help.

Recently, I lost a close friend and co-worker to suicide. Coping for the first time with this incident, I kept thinking of ways and strategies to help my friend, to prevent what happened. In my mind, I was imaging talking to him and convincing him that there are more options for him, there were different ways to handle whatever he was feeling. Then, I realized there was no use in doing any of that. What happened is over now, and there is nothing I can do about it.

Taking in this information, that there was nothing left I could do anymore and that did not sit well with me. I could not shake the feeling of "I wish I prevented it," "I could have done something," and "this didn't have to happen." So I decided the only way I could fully get over what happened, move on and have a peace of mind, was to actually prevent it from happening again. I sat down and researched, dedicated as much time as I could, to find useful and effective strategies and resources to prevent and provide awareness to suicide.

To spot a friend in need:

I was shocked when I found out. I had in no way seen it coming. When I picture my friend, I pictured him always smiling, being happy, and fully enjoying his life. I did not see the pain and suffering he silently had to go through alone.

Annmarie Dadoly wrote in her blog, "Suicide is forever, but the stress leading up to it is often temporary": "Many suicides (estimates range from 30% to 80%) are impulsive, with just minutes or an hour elapsing between the time a person decides upon suicide and when he or she commits the act." So, how can you tell someone is having suicidal thoughts, when they probably haven't even had them yet?

Dadoly's colleague, Patrick J. Skerrett, listed different warning signs that aren't easily found in his blog, "Suicide often not preceded by warnings". These include:

  • an episode of depression, psychosis, or anxiety
  • a significant loss, such as the death of a partner or the loss of a job
  • a personal crisis or life stress, especially one that increases a sense of isolation or leads to a loss of self-esteem, such as a breakup or divorce
  • loss of social support, for example, because of a move or when a close friend relocates
  • an illness or medication that triggers a change in mood
  • exposure to the suicidal behaviors of others, such as friends, peers, or celebrities.

People struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression rarely seek help, which is a common warning sign of someone on the verge of committing suicide. ULifeline, an electronic resource for college students to have access to the information they need to information on their mental health, gives a list of signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped or like there’s no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life
  • Prior suicide attempts

How to convince your friend to get help:

David Susman PhD., keeps an online blog about mental health and wellness. In one blog post in particular, called "8 Reasons Why People Don’t Get Treatment for Mental Illness", he wrote about his analytical finding from the World Health Organization that stated, "Between 30 and 80 percent of people with mental health concerns never receive treatment." David says people don't receive treatment for various reasons, such as fear of the shame, lack of reasonable insight, complete hopelessness and other reasons.

To really get a friend help, the best you can do is convince them they are worth being helped. Specifically, people diagnosed with depression and anxiety, they have low self-esteems and consistent feelings of hopelessness, as if the world would be better off without them. They don't want help because they feel like they're not worth being helped.

Resources for help:

From online resources to programs, the amount of treatments and people out there willing to help is limitless. Some online programs are:

1. Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7 free and confidential support.

2. Lifeline Crisis Chat

This is also provided by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, except this is online chatting instead of having an over the phone conversation.

3. You Can NOT Be Replaced

This program is run by a high school, which accepts donations to host events for other high schoolers. The website offers newsletters that can be sent to your email, where you can receive constant updates on stories of hope and survivors recovering.

To find support groups near you, you can search for them through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

I am still sad, for lack of better terms, for my friend. I will continue to miss him, and his memories will never be forgotten. My hope for writing this is that no one will feel the way I do, or way my friend once did.

Cover Image Credit: Parade

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The Worst Part of the Past Year

I’m stronger because I had to be. I’m smarter because of my mistakes. I’m happier because I’ve overcome the sadness I have known

  

I am going to start out and be very open and honest with you. My past may come as a shock to some people because of how open I'm willing to be about it. I have no regrets of the roads I stumbled down because they were all lessons learned in the end. We all have times in our lives that we wish never happened, we want to bury it deep, deep down so that maybe we wont remember anymore. That's not how we are wired though, we are meant to open up about our wrongdoings and we are meant to learn from them, not pretend as if they didn't happen. That's why I'm sharing what I'm sharing with you today. The worst part of the past year was deciding to move to Canada and to finish my bachelors degree at Redeemer University College. 

I get asked by every single person "Why did you choose Redeemer University when your not even Canadian?". Well, simple; "there was a boy..."is all I ever say. Immediately they fill in the rest (but that's a whole different story for another time). In a nut shell we split and I stayed back in Florida and wasted my time with useless people that were filling me up with childish distraction. During that time I had completely lost sight of who I was. To me, I was literally going insane mentally and emotionally. I wasn't stable in the least and I could hardly hold a conversation with another person. I attached myself to someone I shouldn't have the last month before I left. The things this man introduced me to made it harder for me to let go. 

I did my first line of cocaine with a hundred dollar bill. I was terrified to even do this drug so before I even snorted it I was already shaking like a leaf. I wasn't comfortable and I thought that "this Sadie" was over with years ago. J (that's what we will call him) gave me another bump about every 15 minutes or so just to keep chasing the high. I HATED IT! I could feel my brain chemistry altering with every bump I would take. I had all this energy and no where to put it so my body would just tremble. J ended up giving me a Xanax to calm down. All I remember was the faint smell of gasoline and the soundtrack to 'Suicide Squad'. I woke up in J's bed and didn't remember any of the night. That was only the beginning, from there on out things got progressively worst. 



 

I knew this wasn't me and I knew I needed to get out of this place before things went any further. I headed to the airport and tried to get on the plane. Somehow the flight got messed up and I ended having to stay an extra day in Florida. I.FLIPPED. I made a huge scene at Tampa International Airport and yelled at a few of the ticket workers. I will remind you I was not myself at all at this point in time. 

My mom and dad had to carry me to the car and drove me home to fix my car (I got a flat the day prior). I was hysterically crying on the floor in the backseat on my mom's jeep. I was ripping out my hair and grabbing at my skin to try to break myself out of this meltdown, but I just couldn't. I couldn't calm down, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't stop screaming. It was as if I suppressed all the bad down and it all came spewing out like throw up. Eventually my parents finally sent me out and I headed to Canada to rewire my mind, heart and spirit. 

The first week was BRUTAL! I got to stay with one of my dearest friends (which was great) but during the time I was coming off of a binge. I hadn't had a natural sleep in about a month and I didn't have much of an appetite either. I felt so hypersensitive to everything. When I would try to sleep I could hear a constant buzzing for hours on end that drove me insane. I opened up to friends to seek help and I even went to go see a few counselors and they even referred me. Nothing was helping with my pain though. Not until I turned my life over to God. 

I think sometimes God doesn’t just take our pain away when we ask Him. I think we have to push through the pain, walk through the pain, heal through the pain and pray through the pain. instead of praying it away, maybe sometimes He just wants us to pray through it. healing doesn’t come easy and rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight. It took months to recover and become who I was again and I was only able to do it through Lord, our savior. I’ve had my heart broken, my hope destroyed, my mind distorted, my worth questioned, and my soul stained. In all of these, Jesus was able to restore. He was able to redeem. He was able to bring to life what was once dead. He was able to make all things new. He is still able. He never changes. If He has done it once, He will continue to do so. The only thing we must do is to allow Him to take control. Jesus reigns in us, He is now in charge, not us. He makes His kingdom alive in us no matter what we have been through, all things are made new when He comes to dwell in us. Allow Him to live in you and you will witness a beautiful come alive.

I’m stronger because I had to be. I’m smarter because of my mistakes. I’m happier because I’ve overcome the sadness I have known and I’m wiser because I’ve learned from my life.

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Pessimists Aren't Negative, They're Realistic

Pessimism amounts to accepting the inexplicable contingencies of life.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

I’m sure most of us have heard this question and know what each answer implies: half empty means your pessimistic; half full means your optimistic.

Okay, sure, let’s roll with this analogy. Let’s also assume it’s a glass of water, which will serve as metaphor for growth, life, or any other trite symbol associated with water. Now, half-full implies it could be fuller, but more importantly ignores the inevitable emptiness of the glass.

On the other hand, replying half-empty acknowledges that the glass isn’t getting any fuller but is in fact propelling towards that undesirable state of emptiness, or keeping align with our metaphor, the glass will have no water, symbolizing the end of life i.e. death (sorry for the half-ass figurative language, but you get the idea).

This may sound depressing to some, but it really doesn’t have to be; death is ineluctable and is a truth of life and is something we all have to accept. In a sense, acknowledging life ends in death is the most realistic way to view life. And this, to me, is a defining characteristic of pessimists: being realistic.

This doesn’t mean optimists can’t be realistic, but being optimistic about the future isn’t exactly being realistic, because, like I said, the only future guarantee is death.

For example, when optimistic people tell someone in distress things will get better is pure bullshit because they can’t possibly know that things will get better. It’s possible things will get better, and this is why pessimists in this situation would say something like “Things could get better, or they could get worse.”

Once again, this may sound depressing, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that no one can predict the future. I understand that the traditional idea of pessimism is having a negative view of the future, but I don’t think this applies to modern day pessimists. Rather, a pessimistic outlook on the future implies that anything could happen, even the worst.

Therefore, admitting your lack of knowledge of the future is a big part of being a pessimist, but I also think pessimism implies admitting a lack of knowledge of anything, or a better way of putting it, you don’t understand anything.

I know this sounds stupid, but let me try to explain. By not understanding, I mean not understanding how things came to be. For example, some religions (I think) believe that everything happens for a reason; by doing so, these people are attempting to explain or justify certain events, and usually, these events are harmful and can’t be expressed as positive unless there is some “greater good” involved.

Now, a pessimist is the exact opposite, for they believe everything happens for no reason at all; they don’t try to justify horrible events because they understand that’s part of life. And while they understand that’s part of life, they know it’s impossible to understand why bad things are part of life.

Therefore, if it’s impossible to understand why things happen, then it’s impossible to understand, well, anything. In a sense, pessimists adhere to the idea that the only thing you know is that you know nothing. However, if this is the case, how can one know they know nothing?

Well, you can’t, but this is something we must accept. People find comfort in understanding how the world works, it gives them a sense of purpose and control. But once you accept the idea that nothing makes sense and everything is pointless, life becomes one giant joke.

And this is why pessimists have a terribly dark sense of humor, because in an absurd world where the only guarantee in life is the end of life, where irrationality trumps reason, and where all action amounts to nothing, the only appropriate response is to laugh.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash

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