A blunt question saves lives

IT is probably the most blunt question you could ask anyone but Lifeline suggests if you suspect a person might be considering suicide, ask them straight out: Are you thinking of killing yourself?

Lifeline South Coast executive director Graeme Gould said it was important for people to understand asking the question meant being able to get help sooner.

With figures showing suicide is the leading cause of death of people aged between 15 and 44 the push is on to inform the community about the assistance available and how to help someone at risk.

“If you have a friend or relative whom you think might be considering suicide, ask them,” Mr Gould said.

“Ask them, ‘Are you thinking of killing yourself?’

“If they are genuine they will normally tell you. If people are unsure about asking they can phone Lifeline for coaching on how to ask someone.

“We want people to ask because it means you can mobilise help for that person.

“And we know asking a clear, unambiguous question makes it easier for the person to say yes.

“Your next question should be to ask how and when they plan on doing it.”

Mr Gould said the action that followed depended on the situation.

“If it [suicide] is imminent phone triple-0. If there is more time, helping that person to see a GP to get referral to a suitable psychologist could be a good course of action.

“You can phone Lifeline to get ideas about how to help that person.”

To contact Lifeline South Coast phone 131114.

For further information about depression, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or www.beyondblue .org.au or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust. Other services available include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800:

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78.

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