So this hasn’t happened to me but recently I was talking with a venter who felt they had failed as a listener because they weren’t able to talk down a venter from committing suicide. They went into the chat just to get up the resolve to do it (had attempted suicide in the past a few times). So my question is since we’re not trained how to deal with that sort of thing, what would be the best approach in that situation since it’s so serious? Try to get them call you? Call a hot line? There must be a best course of action with an emergency such as that. Just wanted to see what you all thought since I’m not sure how best to handle it if I ever get a venter like that. Thank you.
I think that each situation is different and there is not one specific thing you should do or not do. I've run into this kind of thing a lot lately, and I try to quickly judge what I should do based on a few things. I first ask them their age, why they want to kill themselves, and then I give them my PM in case we get disconnected. I try to help them out myself by what they say. For example, Venter- No one cares about me so I should just kill myself. Listener- Well I care about you. What or who has made you feel this way?... I think that you really just have to try and develop a skill for knowing what to do in each situation. I know it gets rough some times, but it's not Listeners faults. I've had a few instances of people who have blamed me because they didn't like what I was saying. They have said that it's my fault that they are going to kill themselves, but it's just not the truth. If anyone is uncomfortable with talking to a suicidal person, I think they should recommend the Venter to a hotline, and or, another Listener. I believe that the MOST important thing is to keep the Venter talking. If you sense they might disconnect, ask them about something easy, like their favorite movie. I am also a big fan of telling jokes to lighten the mood. We can't win every one, but I think that as long as we try our hardest, that's what really matters. I also take comfort in the fact that most suicidal venters have doubt about killing themselves-that's why they come on Blah in the first place. They most likely will not commit the act, so maybe that can put some minds at ease. Just my opinion, have a lovely day.
Ah. I have spoken with a lot of suicidal teens. What helps is to keep them talking. Reason might not help, but just be as supportive as you can be of them and their worth. Let them vent to you about what's bothering them. Know this: asking them if they have a plan will make them no more inclined to follow through, but will give you an idea of the severity.
Suicide as an act is on impulse- so time is important, but so is tact. Always, ALWAYS find a time in the conversation to ask them: would you talk to this anonymous hotline about it? And provide the Suicide hotline for them to call. If YOU are speaking to someone who is suicidal and you're overwhelmed, you can also call the hotline for them to help you out.
This Saturday a national conference is meeting up, as we do every year, for "National Survivor's Day". It's a day for those who have lost a loved one to suicide to have a day of guided healing. We see some of the same people every year, and the pictures of those lost on the wall... it's heavy.
You are not superhuman. Please don't blame yourself for something that is deeply etched into their brain. Do your best to give these people kind words and guidance. It's hard online as opposed to a close friend, in the sense that you wonder if they are okay and got the help they needed, or if you've made a difference. Know that every bit of kindness makes a difference in someone's life.
Wrong you guys do NOT sit there and give them advice, you tell them to call 911 or call 1-800-SUICIDE because if they down back down and say they are going to do it then they can trace the call back to them and save their lives.Direct them to 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE or ask where they live and Google their national suicide hotline!We cannot do that from this website, so do the right thing and direct them to a professional that can handle the situation.
Very helpful advice. That's what I tried to tell the venter who felt like she had failed. I said failure would have been to not have tried to help at all and you never know how much your words touched them really. Thanks everyone! I appreciate it :)
Definitely direct them to a dedicated phone line where there are people trained to deal with suicidal callers.Even though I work for one of those organisations, I would STILL not try to handle someone on BlahTherapy who was suicidal. There are several really good reasons for this.For one thing, you yourself as the Listener will likely need some kind of support network to help you in these situations. With BlahTherapy there is no formal support network like that. When someone kills themselves, it can have a devastating impact on the Listener.I know you guys want to help people, but the best way to do that is to get them to call one of those suicide helplines.In the UK, I would recommend Samaritans (08457 909090, www.samaritans.org)
Remember that you are helping people just by being there to listen to them. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your job is to fix people's problems or make them feel better. There will be many, many times when you won't be able to do that. You're doing a great service just by listening to people. Be proud of that!
I just read this recently so suicidal venters shouldn't even be going in the chat in the first place:"By clicking "I agree, Proceed to Chat" you agree to the following:I am not homicidal or suicidal. (If you are we strongly urge you to speak to one of our licensed therapists. Must be 18 or older)
I understand that no action can be taken toward any claims made during a chat as all users are anonymous.
I am at least 13 years or older and have a parents permission to use this site.
I understand that the chat is intended for casual venting and not for mental illness diagnosing or psychological therapy.
I understand that as a listener I am not to perform the role of a real therapist and will refer any user to seek appropriate help from a therapist if the case permits it."