Saturday, March 6, 2010

Suicide is a Tough Topic that Needs Serious Attention

Please forgive me if this post gives you cause for alarm or disturbs you, It is not my intention but I would like to discuss an emotive subject, suicide, and at the same time provide you with some advise to help family and friends who may be at risk.

Suicide is can be more common amongst people with low level Autism and Aspergers Syndrome, than in the rest of the population. This is possibly due to the isolation created by their reduced Social skills and Social Awkwardness that accompanies Aspergers Syndrome.

If you know someone on this position, it's extremely important to be there, (readily available) for those that are suicidal. It is not always simple and some people say they don’t know how to 'be there'. Here is a list of things you can consider.

  • Get involved and stay. Be readily available. Show interest and support
  • Don’t be afraid to talk with them about suicide. Talking about it does not make it worse. Be open and direct.
  • Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide
  • Ask if they have a plan. If so, take them very seriously and move quickly to get them help.
  • Remove anything that would help them carry out their plan – drugs, alcohol, knives, etc.
  • Don’t bait or tease the suicidal. Never say, “I think you’re bluffing or I don’t believe you.”
  • Be willing to listen openly and non-judgmental. Don’t lecture
  • Don’t ask for reasons and never ask “why.” It encourages then to look inwards and become defensiveness
  • Don’t act shocked or authoritarian
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. You are not qualified to deal with the situation and you need to get professional support
  • Offer hope that there are other options and mood changing alternatives are available

You have to take any threat of suicide seriously. 80% of all the people who have committed suicide have given some kind of warning. Sometimes it's simply a clear expression of intent.

A person who you feel is “high risk” for suicide should never be left alone, if even for a moment. Keep talking to that person, and stay with him or her. A suicidal person needs someone they trust to be close to them, to ground them and be a voice of hope.

Also, be careful not to treat them too differently, as this can make your friendship appear fake and your intentions false. Invite them along to meet your other friends. Encourage them and keep it informal and casual to help them feel more comfortable in social situations.

Be aware that a person who has decided to commit suicide can suddenly become very calm, rational and focussed. This can be mistaken for an improvement in their condition. Whereas, it is actually their acceptance of, what they believe to be the inevitable and their only option is to carry out their suicidal plans.

Above all make them firmly promise to contact you before they act on any self-destructive impulse towards suicide. This may sound like a soft option but it can provide a strong link between you and it could save a life.

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