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Preventing Suicide

By Eddie Traversa

Christmas is always a time that brings to a head the difference between the have nots and haves. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in counselling circles, where the period around Christmas and just after is the busiest time of year and the intake of new clients rises dramatically. The holiday period additionally always sees a rise in the number of suicides and suicide attempts.

A part of this mechanism is that people see others happy and wonder why they themselves are not and consequently that gives rise to unpleasant feelings and brings up a lot of unresolved issues. You may want to think about this in terms of duality, the old yin and yang in motion. Seemingly good creates its seemingly opposite bad.

If a friend or acquaintance is distressed to the point of thinking about committing suicide this is what you can do. You cannot be half hearted about it, these are painful things to hear if someone close to you is thinking of suicide, but put your pain aside and focus on the task at hand. In other words take a big gulp and plunge on in. Here is what you can do:

1. Ask them straight out are you thinking about committing suicide.

2. If the answer is yes, then ask if they have a plan. Specifically ask them when they plan to do it and how.

3. If they have a plan, find out if they have the means. For example, someone may say I am going to shoot my head off, then find out if they have a gun or intend to get one.

If a person has all those things then that's a very serious suicide risk. The best thing you can do is to negotiate a contract where you get the person to commit to seeing someone before they commit suicide. If you can get them to commit it is extremely unlikely they will commit suicide until they see that person (a professional counsellor) and hopefully that counsellor can guide them through that period.

If you cannot get them to commit, ring a help line where they can advise you further.

The worst thing you can do is to get them to talk about their feelings. They are overwhelmed with feelings at this point and you don't want to go in there and make it worse. Rather you want to get them back into their heads with some semblance of a plan albeit even if is just a small commitment to see someone on a professional basis. The getting into feelings part comes later once they are stabilized and should only be delved into by a professional, not a lay person without training in such matters.

Also be careful that when a person is in this mode they can appear to quite ok in the next few days almost cheery in fact and then a week or so later you hear they killed themselves. That is usually because they have made their minds up to kill themselves and to them it feels like a relief, as if a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Again key here is checking in and going through the process I listed above.

If per chance they still commit suicide then you need to understand that they were always going to do that and there isn't a thing you could have done to prevent it.

There is always a distinction and discernment to be made in these situations that pertain to enlightenment. Suicidal ideation along with depression appears for many on the pathless path. Not all but many. That is part of a normal process of discovering oneself which is often a painful thing. However if a person gets to the point where they really intend to commit suicide then the act of suicide is not going to get them enlightened but living for a bit longer and working through that pain to see that pain cannot exist may.

This time of year is a good time to be aware of such things as it is a real danger period, but it extends beyond just a few months of the year. It serves one well to be aware of these matters year round.

About The Author
Eddie Traversa runs the popular spiritual enlightenment site at


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