Am I my brother’s keeper? I remember a few years ago that question was asked whenever someone would ask another for an individual they were close to. The answer would result in laughter but lately, one can’t be too joyous with the news that has again rocked our island. The suicide number has been growing rapidly and it is heart wrenching to think or know that persons believe that the only answer left in dealing with adversity is taking one’s life.
Another thing that gets a hearty laugh is when someone says “I will kill myself”. According to various suicide helplines and websites, these are a few of the comments one needs to take very seriously if we are to successfully help our brother.
One website encourages that we always take suicidal comments very seriously. “When a person says that he or she is thinking about suicide, you must always take the comments seriously. Assuming that the person is only seeking attention is a very serious, and potentially disastrous, error. Get help immediately.”
While speaking with the individual, allow the person to talk as much as he or she wants. Always listen very attentively, and encourage him or her to talk more. Be as gentle, kind, and understanding as possible. Let the person express emotion in the way that he or she wants. Allow the person to cry, yell, swear and do what is necessary to release the emotion. However, do not allow the person to become violent or harm himself or herself.
They even added that when told of their intentions we should try not to act shocked. “The person is already highly distressed, and if you are shocked by what is said, the person will become more distressed. Stay calm, and talk with him or her in a matter-of-fact manner, but get help immediately. If the person is at a high risk for suicide, call 911 immediately.”
In St. Lucia we have our very own Helpline (telephone number 203), that was established last year to assist anyone with depression issues. I know sometimes it may seem like the world maybe closing in on you and there is no one who to turn to or even speak with, but that is far from the truth. That person is only a phone call away. The trained professionals on the other line will give you that listening ear that you need, and show you the light in the path that you thought only darkness resided in.
In this day and age we really have to be our brother’s keeper; we have to watch over each other and always remember, protect each other. Know your peers well enough to see when they need that help and never shy away from giving it or seeking it for that person.
Have a great weekend ya’ll and God bless.