Frequently Asked Questions
Why won't anyone talk about suicide?
It's a very uncomfortable subject. We, as adults, are afraid that if we do discuss suicide, it will give kids ideas to hurt themselves. In reality, the research shows that most kids who are suicidal have already considered it as an option. Keeping in touch with your kids, knowing who their friends are and in frequent communication with the parents of friends will help a parent identify any significant changes in a teenager’s day-to-day behavior and activity.
Why would anyone want to take his or her life?
We don't really understand why, but we do know that those kids who feel hopeless or helpless just want the pain to go away. They have not had the life experiences that adults have, so the pain is real and appears to last forever. Talking about the pressures that teens experience today, and providing an open means of communication, could provide an avenue for youth to express their frustrations, rather than resorting to drastic forms of behavior.
Many survivors struggle to understand the reasons for the suicide, asking themselves over and over again: “Why?” Many replay their loved ones' last days, searching for clues, particularly if they didn't see any signs that suicide was imminent.
Because suicide is often poorly understood, some survivors feel unfairly victimized by stigma. They may feel the suicide is somehow shameful, or that they or their family are somehow to blame for this tragedy.
But you should know that 90 percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death (most often depression or bipolar disorder). Just as people can die of heart disease or cancer, people can die as a consequence of mental illness. Try to bear in mind that suicide is almost always complicated, resulting from a combination of painful suffering, desperate hopelessness and underlying psychiatric illness.
What do I say to someone who has attempted suicide?
Let them know that you are there to help and that people do care for them. Whatever painful experiences they are currently dealing with will pass or change. No issue they may currently be facing is worth taking their life over. There is help.
What do I say to parents and loved ones of someone who has died by suicide?
Be a good listener and do not judge. “Words cannot replace the loss that someone is feeling.” “I know that I will never experience the pain you’re going through, but I can be there to help you through it.” “I can listen and I can grieve with you.”
Are there support groups for those whose lives have been affected by suicide?
There are mental-health organizations, support groups statewide who can help you. Or you may be more comfortable first talking to a member of your clergy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Utah Chapter (NAMI Utah), offers free educational classes and support groups and can direct you to other services in your area. See Resources and web links for additional information.
How do I help someone who is suicidal?
Listen to what he/she is saying. Find out how serious he/she is by asking if they have a plan. If they have a plan and the means to complete, talk to a trusted adult as soon as you can. Do not dismiss their words. Many young men and women who have completed suicide told someone about their intent to harm themselves.
What do I say to someone who is suicidal?
Tell them that you care about them and want to find ways to get them help. Do not promise not to tell someone or not to get help. Do not judge them or their reasons for feeling suicidal. Reassure them that you will do all you can to help them.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800- 273 –TALK (8255)