What NOT to say
While there are many things you can do that would be helpful to someone who is in danger of hurting themselves, there are things that you should avoid saying to them.
“You’re just doing this for attention.”
A huge misconception is that people expressing suicidal thoughts are seeking negative attention. On the contrary, if they are looking for attention, it’s because they are seeking help.
“People are in worse situations than you, so be grateful for the life you have.”
This is a form of gaslighting that minimizes a suicidal person’s struggle. “Just keep busy- it will keep your mind off it.”
Severe depression can’t be taken away with distraction; the thing with mental illness is that it can be all-consuming if it is severe enough.
“You’re such a downer!” or “ You’re so depressing to be around.”
If you say something like this to a person who has been contemplating suicide, you’ve only validated that person’s feelings of worthlessness.