Thursday, December 1, 2011
Handling a Crisis IN THE MOMENT!! (Updated)
For the second time in less than a week, I was confronted last night with a distraught youth who was intent on ending his life. Again, I was IN THE MOMENT with someone who was ready to give it all back. And, to be sure, I really have no way of knowing right at this moment whether either of them actually took action and/or whether they were successful. I know that in the first instance, we were able to quickly assemble a small army for him and were able to throw him a life raft. Let's continue the hope that he makes it back to shore. I was deeply troubled by last night's case. This one sounded touch-and-go, even to the point where he couldn't have cared less about those of us who had reaching out to him. Worse, he asked us all to stop trying to help him. Then, he was gone from the screen. Logged off. And, again, we were left to wonder. Wait and wonder. At least with this guy, we have a general location as to where he is. That may prove to be valuable information.
It makes me wonder why there aren't more resources available, a "suicide prevention first-aid kit" of sorts, readily available for us in the event we're caught right there in the moment. Knowing without a doubt exactly what to do at that very crucial moment is an absolute necessity if we're to save these youngsters. I want to stress here, again, that I am by no means a professional therapist, psychologist, or even social worker. I'm merely a very concerned citizen, an older gay man who have been through what a lot of these kids are going through. The difference, obviously, is that I made it to the other side. It wasn't always easy. What has worked well for me so far (this week's two incidents notwithstanding) first and foremost is simply talking sincerely with these young people whenever possible. Not to give advice, mind you. I'm not qualified to do that. Rather, I've always known that LISTENING really goes a very long way. I personally have witnessed the positive effects of that during this crisis.
Make no mistake: listening, however important, is NOT the only thing needed (in most cases) to save these people's lives. As non-professionals, once we get the life jackets on them (listening), we need to get professionally trained people involved absolutely as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the situation, the authorities may need to be called in as well. The upside of doing this on the Internet is we can get instantaneous news from around the entire globe. That's crucial. I'm thousands of miles away from Hungary, yet I've been able to help bring a beautiful young Hungarian soul back from the edge. The downside is that they ARE spread out all around the globe. Sometimes, making the right connections can be difficult but very worth it. The payoff is another young life saved from self-destruction.
Here are some helpful links and resources for both you and the at-risk person you may be in touch with.
http://www.befrienders.org (primarily for the at-risk person)
http://www.imalive.org (primarily for the at-risk person)
http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=suicidal_content (very valuable for everyone to have this link)
That's a good start. And, of course, I will be updating as I come across more resources. We really need every single one of you to get involved in this mission to save lives. You don't have to be a professional to get involved. The only requirement is compassion. As said by another committed soldier in this battle: "Yes, I have no training or degree in psychology...But I don't need a degree to tell when someone is 'Depressed'... I don't really know whether or not they are or should be 'Clinically Diagnosed' as 'Clinically Depressed'... All I know is, as far as I am concerned... they are 'DEPRESSED'... i.e. constantly unhappy and in a state of emotional pain... And I really don't like it when 'administrators' or 'councilors' in schools or where ever.. tell me I'm not trained enough to detect depression, any sensitive human being can detect depression... I don't claim either to have the training to help any one with depression, but...[I] have the heart and love to give the moral support and a caring ear to those who need to have another caring human being just listen to them or talk to them... 'no training needed, apply from within'" Well said, Michele.