How to deal with depressed/suicidal people?



As you might have noticed, I just got back from holidays. Today I received the news that a girl I know has been depressed for quite some time and tried to commit suicide a couple of days ago. Lucklily enough, her boyfriend could stop her from doing so. She’s in a mental instituion now…

Anyhow, I expect to be visiting her soon, but I don’t really know how to handle her. She’s always been an extremely joyful girl, with tons of energy… I still can’t believe this is her!

Does anybody have experiences with people like her? I don’t know what to do… threat here like normal? Or perhaps threat her extremely careful…? Any help is greatly appreciated!


Don’t, whatever you do, try to cheer her up.
Bring something to show&tell and hence talk about otherwise you’ll have to make small talk and that pisses depressed people off.


When a person is depressed, he/she has lost the capacity to see beyond themselves and enjoy life. Instead, they are focused inwardly in a negative loop, endlessly going over their perceived inadeqacies. This continued self-hatred causes them great pain, to the extent that death may seem a solution to what they see as a hopeless situation.

How should you treat your friend? How would you like to be treated if you found yourself mired in a hopeless situation? You wouldn’t want to be patronized as a nut case, or treated superficially. This would be a time that you would need compassion and unconditional, nonjudgmental support and loving kindness from those that cared for you, until you found the strength and resources to recover.


be supportive, and be yourself. friendship/love is oftentimes the best medicine. some people dont know how much they would be missed.


A few years ago, I was in the same situation as that girl. I didn’t actually try to commit suicide, since I didn’t pull the trigger. But I hope I won’t get any closer to it than on that night.

And I remember, that I couldn’t see any “light” in my life. “Nothing worth living for”, as they say.
But as Inertia said, this was due to that negative loop. The problem is, I didn’t realise it at that crucial moment. So I didn’t ask for any help.
The only thing that kept me back in the end, was a very close girlfriend who was on holidays that time. Somehow, she was that “little light” that I needed and I said to myself
“I can’t just let it happen that she hears about it when she gets back”

So what I’ve learned from it, if I would ever be in such a situation again, I would search for some sort of small thing to hold on (that “light”). Just for not doing it at that moment. But that doesn’t make you feel better in the long term; afterwards I started talking about it and that helped a great deal. Strange though I didn’t realise earlier that talking would help, especially on that crucial moment.
But you need other people who can widen your narrowed view on life.

So try to fit in could be something you could do Dee-ehn (or if you can’t, try to help others who can).

BTW, as soon as I cleared out all that mess (together with a few close friends), I was incredibly happy that I didn’t do it. From that moment on, I enjoy every moment of my life. Hence the Poll a few days back; about who smiles. I haven’t always smiled so much.


Most commonly, suicide seems to arise from a depressed person’s feeling that life is so unbearable that death is the only escape from great pain, terminal illness, financial losses, and other such circumstances. A suicidal person experiences hopelessness and helplessness, ambivalent conflicts between life and unending stress, and no apparent possibilities for change or improvement. These feelings are distress signals. The next step is intentional self-inflicted death.

How to treat a person who’s made a suicide attempt? First of all, you should better meet with the doctor who’s taken up your friend’s case. He knows best her medical background and current status and will inform you accordingly. Generally, as some have already suggested, patronizing her and treating her like there’s no problem at all is not the best approach. She does know there is a problem and is usually aware of the exact reasons that lead her to this act. Being honest and letting her know that you aknowledge there is a problem at hand is the best approach. However i have never had a friend being in such a situation and all my experience is with patients, where the role of a medical student/doctor is much different to that of a friend/relative. As i said in the beginning, you’d better talk with the doctor in charge first.


Forgive my semi-harsh reply that is going to follow , but i haven’t had fun experiences with people who feel more sorry for themselves than the world around them.

So , if this feels offended , please stop reading.

I’ve had numerous experiences with people who were depressed from some sort of thing ; Lost love , lack of attention , job loss , unknown disease ,etc.

The thing is , no matter whay you say, they always find some excuse to make them even feel more miserable because of it , and they lure you with them in their depressed state.

There’s only one person who can get them out of their depression , and that’s themselves. Now i don’t say you should leave them alone or make them feel more pathetic to " shake them up " , but don’t always be there for them. People get used to help and attention quite fast and next thing you know , you’re depresses yourself.

One thing i found that always will help , is to tell people they are in control of their own life. If i wanted to go out, i’ll go out NOW , and if i want to drink 15 beers in a row and feel good about it . i will. I can do whatever i want on this planet. Oh and surprise , surprise . if i want to do something , that needs skills , i’ve got to develop them. I’d love to be an astronaut , but i think the training would kill me , so i’ll pass :slight_smile: But i’m not gonna feel depressed about it. I’m still in control and i had the chance if i really wanted to.

Can’t speak for love though … had to little experience with that phenomenon. All i known is that people don’t want me , they’re not worth it. Simple as that.

Sure , it’s ok to feel depressed. I’m depressed at least twice a week, but not all the time , that just sucks.


my bestfriends mother commited suicide…and tried…a hundred times i guess before that…in ways nobody could imagine…

how to handle…not eassy to tell

in their world everything is different…they see things not as we see…

just act normally…don’t let her feel she is different…that only causes her too feel more depressed…
they want to be like you and me…not different

if you need to…force her to get help…what ever help…
don’t sit and wait…don’t let yourself be send away by docters…

don’t know much to say…i only know how hard it is

by the way…depresion can be caused just by the fact some hormones are not produced by the body…not always cause by love or death


Originally posted by Inertia
When a person is depressed, he/she has lost the capacity to see beyond themselves and enjoy life. Instead, they are focused inwardly in a negative loop, endlessly going over their perceived inadeqacies. This continued self-hatred …

This is not necessarily true - some self-harming people are obsessed with their own superiority and are attempting to escape life as a form of self protection. Therefore they love themselves and hate the world. I think this could still be described as depression, although I’m sure Mr B would categorise it as narcissism. Non-depressed people don’t love themsleves too much – they’ll take more punishment without objection. By this token I think Hemispasm’s definition is best and one way to deal with it is to stop treating the depressed person as sick. Stop trying to treat it at all, just try to make things suck less for the person, or better still just go away.

@Hemispasm - “you’d better talk with the doctor in charge first” - I foresee confidentiality problems here.


Ah…depression. I know an intimate someone who went through a depressive spell in her life. Depression strikes 1 out of 4 people at some point in their lives, with women more likely to be affected than men. There are various causes of depression, and as such different approaches and attitudes must be used against each. Some people may just want someone to talk to, others may just want the attention, others may only want the ‘escape’ of death.

Dee-ehn, the best way to find out how to best treat this girl is to just speak to her. This person in my life who was depressed - she did try to kill herself as well - became very angry after the incident if anyone treated her ‘differently’ and didn’t trust her around drugs (she took an overdose). In this case, I just acted normal and ‘trusted’ her with being alone in the toilet for a while with the medicine cabinet (for example), but of course had my eyes peeled subtly for trouble ;). Other family members would scream and bang on the door asking if she was alright if she went to the toilet for more than a minute; I’d just listen more carefully to make sure there were sounds inside.

Visible trust in her helped her recover a lot. That someone (me) still viewed her as human and with equal rights after such a traumatic event meant a lot to her. Remember that being in a mental hospital can be very unsettling. She lost all her human rights there. When she was there, she told me she had to call the nurse for permission to take a leak, bathe, eat, make a phone call, leave her room. She also told me about how other people in the ward were real whackos (they were - I saw them when visiting her). They scared her. She absolutely hated it but they would not let her out.

After a lot of wrangling by her parents and myself (we all promised to ‘keep an eye on her’) they put her on an outpatient basis. Every time she had to go back for a mental health ‘progress report’ she’d become very anxious, etc. again. To be honest, I think the system meant well, but in this case were actually making the matter worse for her.

Being in a mental institution is worse than being in jail if you are half sane, as I think that girl you know is. Mental inmates have no rights, as opposed to jailbirds who get some. So, you have to try to give her back her rights as quickly and safely as you can if you want her to put the matter behind her.

As a sidenote, was she on any medication before she attempted suicide? If so, what, and for how long? Some SSRI’s like Prozac have been known to be associated with an increased risk of suicide at the earlier stage of the treatment regimen, which means that she should have been monitored.


Originally posted by DryBaboon
@Hemispasm - “you’d better talk with the doctor in charge first” - I foresee confidentiality problems here.
No no, i didnt mean to discuss her case. He is the most certified person though to make intelligent suggestions on the best way D-N should approach his friend


Thanks everyone for replying. I feel more prepared now to face her again (whenever that will be, I don’t know yet).

I spoke to someone that knows her very well, he told me she had been doing pretty strange thing since the last couple of months and she has huge financial problems…

I guess that explains this all a bit…

Let’s just hope the best for her…



i hope you and your friends get her better as soon as possible

good luck


There are a few ways to handle this, one of them like Hemi said is to talk the dr who is treating her, dont ask specific details about her case, but things like how is she doing, does he think she is making progress.

Then when you have prepared yourself, sit down with her, and offer a hug, handshake, and make sure that she knows that you are her friend and if shes want to talk, then by all means listen.
Families and friends are a big help for these…


A person in my life committed suicide when I was young. And you know, I hate him for doing it.

But when its all over, if she want to discuss it, dont pressure her.

Let her tell her side and care and love her.

Let your feeling flow through you, not a word needs to be spoken to let another know you care and are there for them.

What does your heart tell you Dee-ehn? Take all the advice you can, but follow what you feel inside.


At least we aren’t in some typical asian country…

There, suicide is encouraged: You are not my son anymore, you have dishonored the family therefore you must die.

And if you dishonor the entire family, they all go out together.

Heck, in Korea all you hear about is people who ran their credit cards up, had crazy debt, and then they leap of some bridge or building. I heard Japan is even worse.

And you really don’t see people helping out, either. They almost encourage it by agreeing that they have dishonored their family or they will definitely be treated as lower from then on out…

Such a shame, but that’s the way things go.


What does your heart tell you Dee-ehn? Take all the advice you can, but follow what you feel inside.

I agree with you Savannah, but i don’t think depressions are things that will be healt because we do what we think/feel is best.

Depression is a kind of illness. It is not like we ourselfs have a bad day or so.
These kind of things have to treated by a doctor.

Just trying to say…think rationally …don’t just do what you FEEL …

sorry if this sounds strange…didn’t know how to explain it better


I can see what you mean damiandimitri, but I dont agree its an illness.

I believe its a frame of mind, severe depression took 2 weeks of my life away, and Ill probably never forgive myself for it.

For some reason I could see the monotony of what I was going through. Hell, I even had the razors lined up the previous day, with a plan to slit my wrists.

There was talk of taking me to a doctor, but I never agreed to it. No way would I let anyone help me.

Never wanted to talk about it, had the oportunity a few times, but for me it was just knowing someone cared. This person didnt understand what I was going through, but told me they loved me, and was there for me any time I needed them, maybe not to talk, just to sit so I knew someone was there and I got through it.

Ive since talked about it with that person, but this is still quite personal.

I think that unless someone has actually been through it, they cant understand fully. They can know all the doctors know, philosophise about it etc, but theyll never know exactly.


some good points Savannah,

it it just so damn difficult, so many ways to look at it.

The person i know…was depressive for more then 5 years (more like 10 years or so).
She visited all places and doctors i could imagine.

Myself i have been depressive for a while, because my father died. But that was nothing compared to what others have.

About the illnes part. I think there are 2 kinds (perhaps more) of depression.
The first is what people now as “beeing down”. The other a failure in your body when a certain “hormone” is not produced.(not sure if it is called hormone)

But…what ever it is…it sucks like hell when you have it or see people like that


Originally posted by damiandimitri
it it just so damn difficult, so many ways to look at it.

So very true.

Originally posted by damiandimitri
Myself i have been depressive for a while, because my father died. But that was nothing compared to what others have.

Yours to? Mine died when I was 4, can say I cant stand this time of year, fathers day and all.

Originally posted by damiandimitri
But…what ever it is…it sucks like hell when you have it or see people like that

I definatly agree with that!