Crisis Response, #5

This entry was posted on October 16, 2012 under Clergy Program, Crisis Response. Written by:

List and discuss at least five suicide warning signs. Explain how you would respond if you were assisting an individual exhibiting one or more of these signs. (minimum 50 words each warning sign and minimum 100 words for response).

There are an array of warning signs to look for in terms of suicide (Symptoms and Danger Signs of Suicide.).  Signs such as:

  1. Talking about wanting to die
    One major warning sign of suicide is someone who is starting to talk about wanting to die or kill themselves.  This is often attributed to feeling like there is no way out of a situation except to no longer feel the situation by suicide.    In these instances, the individual may feel an overwhelming amount of pain and there’s no reasonable solution that they can see to fix it. (Word Count: 68)
  2. Withdrawn or feeling isolated
    Another warning sign of suicide is an individual who becomes suddenly withdrawn and isolated from friends and family.  Interaction with people, especially those that constantly ask about whatever crisis situation has prompted all of this, can generally trigger very emotional thoughts and conversations that people simply don’t want to deal with.  So as a solution, they barricade themselves from society and anything that reminds them of the source of their pain.
    (Word Count: 71)
  3. Sleeping too little or too much
    When an individual begins to sleep an overabundance of hours or alternatively sleeps very little, this can also be a sign of suicidal thoughts, or at least behavior.  Generally when our “give a damn” is busted, we tend to just want to sleep and not worry about anything going on in the outside world.  On the opposite extreme, when people are so stressed about situations they can’t seem to get a handle on, they will brood so much on the situation that they will not sleep.  This can cause severe health issues in addition to mental strain.
    (Word Count: 97)
  4. Talk about being a burden to others
    When individuals feel like their worth is significantly compromised either due to job loss, depression which led to lack of contribution, or that they are only causing harm or expense to friends and family, this can be another warning sign of suicide.  These people usually feel like they have nothing to offer, therefor why continue to feel like this great burden to the people they care about.
    (Word Count: 67)
  5. Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    The use of alcohol or drugs for someone who is potentially suicidal is a huge crutch in order to cope with various crisis situations.  They are tools used to distract and numb whatever pain is being felt from the stress and anguish.  This can lead to not only addiction, but further depression due to lack of coherency and social abilities.
    (Word Count: 60)

Given all of these examples of various suicidal warning signs, there is obviously a variety of different signs that require extremely different methods of counsel.  Someone who is on alcohol or drugs, needs to be handled way differently than someone who is simply feeling withdrawn or isolated.  One job of a Clergy person is to assess the type of signs they are witnessing in order to determine the best method for handling that individual.  This is because handling someone who might be irate requires special attention compared to someone who is simply depressed.

My method of handling suicide warnings would be to allow that person to open up in regards to the details of their situation should they feel the need to vent.  If that ends up not being the case and they just want to remain withdrawn, then I would likely press the issue gently, or even just continue to try and distract them by asking about their day, their family, their job, and inserting positive dissertation about things in their life that they may not see on their own.

After I was able to earn their trust in listening to them, I would then use that opportunity to repeatedly shed light on their situation from not only a logical standpoint but also a more optimistic and realistic standpoint.  Because while all situations they might be dealing with most certainly could suck, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be fixed with a little help from a friend.  And realistically people just need logical guidance to make the initial steps forward, because while not all situations can be changed to the way we want, they can all be changed into something better.

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