The latest death of K-Pop star Goo Hara has sparked frenzied debate on line about suicide and the reasons behind her action. Whatever the reasons, suicide is always a tragedy that can and should be prevented.
What do you do if your friend shows the following behavior:
- Talks about dying, have no purpose in life, wants to end the suffering
- Gives away prized possession or makes plans for the care of loved ones.
- Sudden drastic change in behavior (Could even be for the better, e.g suddenly very calm when the person has been emotionally volatile)
- Losses interest in hobbies and preferred activities
- Losses interest in personal appearance
- Exclude himself/herself from future plans
- Withdraws from social circle
You may want to approach your friend confidentially to understand what is happening in his/her life. If your friend hints about suicide here is what you could do.
(1) Clarify the intentions of your friend by asking direct, closed-ended questions.
Asking directly about the persons intentions will not cause the person to want to commit suicide. In fact, it presents an opportunity for the person to share what is the problem.
However if the person is hesitant to talk about it, Progressive Questioning may be better
Never promise to keep suicide intentions a secret. Tell your friend that you want him/her to stay alive and you need other people to help you as well.
(2) Problem Solve by finding a ray of hope for your friend.
Contradict the persons intention of wanting to die.
Listen attentively to what the person has to say and do not make light of the problems even as you try to persuade the person to keep going. Usually a person who is suicidal has very confused thoughts. Help the person to find alternative views to the problem.
(3) Delay the act of suicide -Future orientation
Help the person to look ahead and find things that they can look forward to. You could suggest doing some activity together on a specific date to delay the suicide plans and to allow time for the person to get rational or get professional help.
If possible, stay with the person until helps comes, such as family members or a more experienced person who can handle the situation. Remove all items that can be used for self-harm and suicide. You may have to cox the person to move to a safer location if the place presents risk to the person.
(4) Take any communication of distress and suicidal thoughts seriously.
Provide immediate support and alert family and significant others related to the person. However, it takes professional training to help a suicidal person to get back on the right track.
Research has shown that almost 60% of those who complete suicide suffer from a mental condition. Suicide contemplation has a strong physical, biological component and hence requires professional help. Hospitalization and family support may be necessary to ensure that the person is kept safe in the process of recovery.
Organizations that can provide help:
SOS – Samaritans of Singapore
(24 hours, counselling for people in crisis, feeling suicidal or experiencing suicidal grief and loss)
National Family Service Centre (English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil)
Tinkle Friends (Help for Primary School children)
SAMH Counselling Services
(Psychological, Psychiatric, Social and Relationship problems)