There are many aspects of being a good friend that seem to be innate for most people. From helping other people enjoy their interests to talking to your friends about what is going on in your life, having good friends can make up a big part of your life.
With that being said, if someone you know comes to you saying “I wish I were dead,” you might feel as if everything in your world has stopped in that moment. More often than not, when someone confesses such a heavy statement, your mind will go blank. After all, most people don’t really think about dealing with this kind of situation.
If this ever happens to you, you should have a good idea about how to handle the situation, including what you can say, what you can do, and ultimately, how you can help your friend out.
Deep depression is a topic that is not often talked about, even in close circles. This can stem from the person not feeling that their thoughts are worth mentioning, or it could come from the fact that maybe the friend doesn’t want to bring others down.
If someone comes to you saying “I wish I was dead,” it is important to treat the situation delicately, while also showing that you are there for the person and that they can rely on you. Of course, in a situation as delicate as this, it is important for you to know the warning signs and when you need to call it an emergency. There are a few different things that you can do when someone comes to you saying these things.
Knowing the Warning Signs
As hard as it might be, it is also important for you to know the difference between someone who is in a crisis and needs someone to support them and someone who is actively planning to take their own life. There are several different warning signs that you can be on the lookout for, with talking about ending one’s own life being one of them.
Other warning signs that someone is planning to end their own life are if he or she begins talking about other topics, such as being a burden on others, feeling trapped in a situation, talking about taking revenge on others, talking about feeling hopeless, and similar topics.
He or she might begin isolating themself, changing their sleeping habits, and having mood swings that lean toward angry outbursts more often. Some of the most concerning warning signs include the person giving away their personal and loved belongings, increasingly talking of wanting to end their own life, and actively searching for a method by which to commit suicide.
If the person talking to you is exhibiting these warning signs or if you believe that he or she is in immediate danger, it might be worth it to consider calling a suicide hotline. Depending on the nature of the relationship, your friend may not take too kindly to this and this can be very hard to work through. However, it is important for you to keep in mind that calling a hotline in an emergency is for the other person’s good, even if his or her judgement is too cloudy to realize that at the moment.
Now that you know some of the warning signs to look out for, you should begin to think about ways that you can help someone who comes to you with these feelings. Every situation should be treated with care, as the person talking to you is trusting you deeply. It is crucial that you take this seriously, even if it might take some time to deal with.
Chances are that if someone is coming to you with these feelings, then he or she already trusts you enough to talk about his or her mental health. If someone says that they want to die, you will want to be direct and ask them whether or not they are truly planning to end their own life. This will help you determine the right course of action to take.
If the person says that he or she is considering suicide, you should focus on getting that person the help that he or she needs. This includes getting to therapy, making changes to their medication (or beginning medication), and potentially even taking them to a hospital. It can be hard to convince someone who is severely depressed that they need to be hospitalized, and it may temporarily damage your friendship, but in the long run, it will be well worth it to help your friend get to a safe environment where they can get the help they need.
If the person says that they aren’t quite suicidal, but that they do feel crushed by depression, there are still plenty of ways that you can help this person out. The best thing you can do is offer your ears and your concern. For people who are feeling this way, having someone who can just sit and listen to their problems means a lot. The right course of action to take may also involve therapy, medication, and similar treatments, but if the person is not actively wanting to commit suicide, hospitalization may not be necessary.
As hard as it might be to ask a question like this directly, it is an important first step in figuring out how to help someone who comes to you with these feelings.
What Should You Talk About?
There’s also a good chance that someone who comes to you with these thoughts will also want to talk to you. After all, they are coming to you for support. In many situations, the best thing you can do is sit there and listen to how he or she feels.
For the most part, you should not interrupt the person when he or she is speaking. You shouldn’t inject your own feelings into the situation either, as this can come across as diminishing and minimalizing, and nobody wants this to happen. Instead, simply listen and provide any feedback if it is asked for.
When you are talking to this person, you should make it a point to ensure that he or she knows that you care about them and that you are concerned. However, you should not try to play this in a way that will make the person feel guilty. You should simply let the person know that you are there for them.
During the conversation, after the person has let their feelings out, you will want to think about a way that you can bring up things that he or she would miss, or things that would be impacted if they committed suicide. This may be tough to do, depending on the way that he or she feels.
For instance, someone who doesn’t believe that people care may not believe that his or her family would be sad if they committed suicide. If that is the case, you may want to bring up something else, such as pets (if applicable), or any goals that person used to talk about. Some other topics in this vein that you can bring up include family, extended family, neighbors, and friends (including online acquaintances).
You can also bring up any interests, goals, or plans that he or she has made in the past and left unfinished. You can also talk about their pets. Helping this person understand that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem is key. With that being said, you will also need to understand that, to someone who is depressed, it certainly will not feel like a temporary problem.
What Can a Hotline Offer?
There may come a point where you feel that you may not be qualified to help your friend out any more than you already have. This is where a hotline can come in handy. Hotlines that are designed to help with people who are in crisis, and can be extremely effective for an in-the-moment situation.
The people on the line are people who spend their time working with people who feel suicidal. They understand the best way to talk to them and to help calm them down. Hotlines also tend to have subsections that may help, depending on the situation. For instance, some subsections include minority groups, veterans, survivors, and those who have disabilities. If you feel that you are not qualified to help your friend any further, contacting a hotline may be the next best step.