Question #14


What Help Is There For Family and
Friends of a Suicidal Person ?


Yourself With Knowledge
  • Living with someone who wants to die and may kill themselves when you go to work, or the store, and go about your normal life can be terrifying.
  • You may be overwhelmed with guilt or afraid that anything you say or do, or don't say or do, will cause them to commit suicide.
  • Feeling responsible for someone else's life or death may be too much to bear.
  • But the more you understand about depression, the easier it will be to deal with in someone you love.
  • The less you know, the more frustrating and stressful it will be.
  • Your lack of knowledge could be harmful or fatal to your loved one.
  • Now is the time to search & learn about depression and arm yourself with knowledge that can help get you through as a family and/or as an individual.
You must preserve strength, sanity, and self.

You must take care of yourself or you may not have the emotional energy to deal with this frightening and frustrating illness.

Just as your loved one is suffering with a biological illness, so can stress affect your own physical and emotional health.

  • Do what you are emotionally and energetically capable of doing while reserving enough for the demands of your normal life.
  • You must preserve strength, sanity, and self.
Their Depression Isn't Your Fault

If you are wearing yourself to a frazzle with worry, you may be feeling unnecessarily responsible and guilty.

  • Their illness isn't your fault anymore than it would be if they had a rare blood disease, cancer or diabetes.
  • Doing too much and worrying too much won't take away their illness.
  • There won't be anything left of you to help anyone !
  • Again, do what you can but don't wear yourself or worry yourself to a frazzle.
Take Your Vitamins for Health & Stress

Take your vitamins - your local national chain pharmacy should be carrying a good stock of helpful Name Brand formulas.  Some of my frequented online stores are,, and I am starting to like

  • Even If you have never taken a vitamin in your life, now is the time to start.
  • They could be your saving grace.
  • Find a good multiple and bolster it with something for stress or other appropriate formula.
Seek Out Support For Yourself & Family

Realize that just as there are millions of victims of depression out there just like your loved one - there are even more out there just like you !!

  • One depressed and suicidal person can have numerous people who love them and worry about them.

The spouse or main care provider will suffer right along with the depressed & suicidal person.

  • A spouse often feels alone and insecure because the same person they know and love and depend on may not be there for them at all during this time.
  • They are watching their loved one dying a living death and may feel powerless to save them.

Any individual who is involved in helping will need some kind of outside support. Seek out support for yourself and/or your family.

  • Seek comfort and support in other family, friends, medical doctor, family counselor, therapist, clergy.
  • Don't carry it alone.

Special Note About Sex...

If Your Partner Is The Depressed Person.

Seeking outside comfort and support doesn't mean extramarital affairs !!

  • Instead, help yourself and your depressed loved one by keeping your family together and continuing your intimate relations.

You must agree to continue for both of your sakes. Don't just do it with each other, do it for each other to save a life and a marriage.

  • Even if you think you don't feel like it.
  • Even if it feels like another chore.
  • Even if it isn't magical & romantic.
  • Go for comfort, closeness, support, or love.

Even if you are just "going through the motions" -- There are unforeseen hormonal & therapeutic benefits.

  • It will help you stay together through this difficult time.
Depression Fallout

Depression Fallout: The Impact of Depression on Couples and What You Can Do to Preserve the Bond

by Anne Sheffield

Cultivate Physical Closeness

Cultivate family closeness for now and after the depression.

Touch conveys a lot of unspoken feelings of love, support and acceptance, and helps keep us bonded to the ones we love. Start now.

Family members

  • Learn to hug and pat - shoulders, arms, hands and even face for certain relationships.


  • Pat and Hug your Kids and Teenagers often !! How about every day !! Hug with both arms.
  • If your family has not been doing it - start today - Mothers and Fathers!
  • Make an announcement. Make it a requirement - the kids can't leave the house unless they come and say goodbye and get their daily hug from both parents!
  • Remember - The Hug is coming FROM YOU, the parent(s) !
  • Hug with both arms, look into their eyes, pat their face, or kiss their cheek, say goodbye and smile!
  • Do say "I Love You" when appropriate but don't say it so often that it becomes meaningless.

For Spouse or Significant Other

  • Hug a lot, touch a lot, touch shoulders, arms, hands and face
  • Always hug and kiss goodbye - Make it a required minute ritual - even if you are late. Never leave the house without it, even if you will be back soon. Look into their eyes, pat their face, or kiss their cheek, say goodbye and smile!
  • Show your affection & supportive feelings often with a warm touch or pat, a kiss on the cheek
  • When watching TV, sit closely together or at least touch in some way.
  • Do say "I love you" but not so often and so casually as to desensitize yourselves. Say it when you feel it and when you think they need to hear it.
Families & Friends Should Make A Circle of Support for Each Other

If you are a group of family or friends, you can call and talk to each other often to compare notes and to vent your feelings of frustration and worry.

You may all want to go as a group:

  • To see the doctor who is treating your loved one
  • Or seek outside counseling individually or as group once or twice
  • To get advice on how to help and reassurance that you are doing the best you can
  • If you're alone in helping, you may need counseling even more so.

Family Support Resources:

It's Not Your Fault If They Die

And Finally - this may seem cold - but it is the truth.

  • Remember, for your own sake, it really isn't your FAULT if they die.
  • It is not your FAULT they have the illness/disorder.
  • However, on the other hand, if you, yourself become frustrated with them and lose emotional control and lash out, YES, YOU could actually CAUSE them to go ahead and commit suicide.
  • But a suicidal person can be so sensitive, that ANYthing could set them off, even being nice and trying to help!
  • You just have to do the best you can.
  • And there is only so much you can do.

In the final analysis, people still do commit suicide.

You just can't let it be your fault.

You can have an argument with a healthy person
and they are not going to commit suicide.



The Right to Commit Suicide



See The Family Support Section of My DepressionBookstore

Helping Someone With Mental Illness
What To Do When Someone You Love Is Depressed
How You Can Survive When They're Depressed


American Psychologic Association | Find A Psychologist


Find Urgent Suicidal Help | SuicideCrisisCenter |


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Suicide Prevention In Your Area - What You Can Do




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