Monthly Archives: September 2014

How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

If you’re thinking about committing suicide, or know someone who is, please call these Crisis Lines – 929-3535 or 1-800-273-TALK.  If someone is saying they are going to harm themself or is harming themself, call 911. 

Common Misconceptions about Suicide

FALSE: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.

FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education


Warning signs of suicide

Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It’s not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide—it’s a cry for help.

Talking about suicide Any talk about suicide, dying, or   self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you   again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”
Seeking out lethal means Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or   other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
Preoccupation with   death Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence.   Writing poems or stories about death.
No hope for the   future Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and   being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never   get better or change.
Self-loathing,   self-hatred Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame,   and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off   without me”).
Getting affairs in   order Making out a will. Giving away prized   possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
Saying goodbye Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to   family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
Withdrawing from   others Withdrawing from friends and family.   Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
Self-destructive   behavior Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless   driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death   wish.”


Talking to a person about suicide

Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But if you’re unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.

Ways to start a conversation about suicide:

  • I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
  • Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.
  • I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.

Questions you can ask:

  • When did you begin feeling like this?
  • Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?
  • How can I best support you right now?
  • Have you thought about getting help?

What you can say that helps:

  • You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.
  • You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
  • I  may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you      and want to help.
  • When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more      day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.

When talking to a suicidal person


  • Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.
  • Listen.  Let the suicidal person unload despair, ventilate anger. No matter how  negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign.
  • Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.
  • Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.
  • If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.

But don’t:

  • Argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for,” “Your suicide will hurt your family,” or  “Look on the bright side.”
  • Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is wrong.
  • Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word.
  • Offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting your friend or loved one.

Adapted from:


Get them connected to Help

If you’re thinking about committing suicide, or know someone who is, please call these Crisis Lines – 929-3535 or 1-800-273-TALK.  If someone is saying they are going to harm themself or is harming themself, call 911.

For a listing of counseling services, go to






Enforcement Efforts Reduce Drunk Driving

Everyone has a role in keeping our roads safe and that means never getting behind the wheel impaired. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver every day. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Fond du Lac County and the nation work hard to keep drunk and impaired drivers off our roads.  One tried and true method they use is saturation patrols.

Saturation patrols are concentrated enforcement efforts that target impaired drivers by observing moving violations such as; reckless driving, speeding, drunk driving, inattentive driving, seatbelt violations, texting and driving, etc.

Law enforcement officers are trained to pick up cues impaired drivers give while driving. Drinking alcohol affects your judgment, coordination and slows your reaction time.

Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County and the Healthy Fond du Lac County 2020 initiative suggest these easy steps so your life and the lives of others on the road are not jeopardized:

  • Designate a sober driver, before drinking begins. If you aren’t that driver, leave your car keys home.
  • If you have been consuming alcohol, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or ask the bartender to call the safe ride program so you are sure to get home safely.
  • Enter the taxi company numbers in your cell phone for easy access when you need a ride home
  • If you see driving that concerns you on the road, contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride with someone who is impaired, encourage them not to, even if it means taking their keys away. Help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.