Understanding Suicide Prevention (part 3)

Most people are not experienced in talking about suicide.

Nevertheless, if you have to help someone, you need to know how to make your communication positive. Do not react in a judgmental way and do not give in to your emotions.

The following phrases and questions are usually helpful:

  • “I’ve been worrying about you and wanted to see how you are”
  • “How can I help you right now?”
  • “I care about you and want to help”
  • “Have your thought about getting help?”
  • “You’re not alone. I’m here for you”


  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center: provides current news and tips on suicide prevention, targeting different age groups and settings.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: offers help to people in crisis through chat and in person, having options for the deaf and hearing-impaired individuals.
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: provides support for those who think about committing suicide, those who are concerned over their friend or relative and those who have lost someone to suicide.

Types of Professional Treatment

If you are so depressed that you start getting suicidal thoughts and ideas, you need professional help. Consider the following treatment options and remember that they are only a few of those available today. Your medical specialist will help you to determine the correct treatment course for you.

  • Psychotherapy: often used in combination with psychiatric medication and aimed to improve the person’s coping strategies. Psychotherapy also helps the individual to determine the source of the negative thoughts. During this therapy, you doctor will ask about your recent traumas, life changes, experiences of alcohol and substance abuse, and medications you are taking.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: one of the most popular and effective methods, especially when used in combination with medication and inpatient treatment. The sessions of CBT commonly take 12-16 weeks. Its main goal is to help the patient identify and replace negative mental patterns and dysfunctional behavior with positive and healthy ones.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: one of the first methods elaborated to treat depressed and suicidal patients, used in combination with medication and behavioral therapy. DBT enhances the patient’s emotional health; helps to take control over the emotions and develop skills that will help to increase mental stability.
  • Medication: can be used alone or in combination with any other therapy. Over 20 medications are currently FDA-approved, but each of them works differently for different patients. Therefore, the specialist has to adjust prescriptions, dosages, and therapy duration to each individual.
  • Inpatient Treatment: helps people who need immediate medical care and round-the-clock attention. The treatment process includes the comprehensive evaluation of the patient, addressing the short-term psychiatric and medical needs, and detoxification, if needed. The inpatient treatment may include individual or group psychotherapy, medication therapy, and aftercare plan.

If you have never undergone these treatments but feel that you need help immediately, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.