USA Crisis Text 741-741
United Kingdom 116 123
Australia 13 11 14
International suicide hotlines
Every life lost to suicide represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide about 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behavior.
I am one of those people who was left with a lifetime of grief.
So what does #justlisten mean?
- If someone you know says things like, “I don’t want to live,” “The world would be better without me,” Stop, and in private, say, “Tell me more.” Some examples on social media.
- Then #justlisten. By text, phone, in person.
- Don’t say, “You have so much to live for!” You are not there to fix, you are there to listen. You can see what some of the wrong things to say
- If they say something about a family member or a pet, you can say, “Tell me more about ____________.”
- Then #justlisten
- You can say they mean something to you.
- You can call the suicide hotline together
- You can agree that a method of killing themselves might hurt.
- You can ask how they were planning to kill themselves.
- You can remove means. That means removing pills they were going to use including over-the-counter medications, a firearm (here is guidance on that), or keys to a car to drive to a location.
- You can ask them if you can talk to a trusted adult together.
- You may need to escort them to emergency services or call 911. However, that is a last resort.
- After they are safe and stable, you can call the next day to check up with them and ask how they are going to follow up. Connect with a therapist or psychiatrist.
The basic beginner suicide intervention primer:
- Ask the question
- Listen with empathy
- Remove means
- Connect them with services
- Follow up
If you can’t remember any of this, just remember the #justlisten part. So instead of following an instinct of fear and flight when you get that feeling in your gut in response to something someone has said, decide you are going to be the one to reach out. Because you are qualified to listen.