Suicide Prevention/question


If a person thinks about committing suicide, but not "think" as in considering, just "think" as in imagining doing it, should this be a concern? This said person is very unhappy for several reasons but wouldn't commit suicide.

Hi.. I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was unable to reply on the computer I was using while away recently.

In answer to your question, it is difficult for me to know whether this person is actually at risk of harming themselves based on limited information. Many people imagine doing things that they would never in reality do. If you know the person well and are certain that he or she is unlikely to commit suicide, then the concern I would have is simply that they are unhappy. Being consistently unhappy is no way to live, and needs to be addressed in order to improve quality of life. Nobody is happy all of the time, as life is not without it's ups and downs, each of us have our own unique challenges to face as we navigate our path. It is only by learning to solve our problems as they arise that we gain self confidence and a sense of who we are and what we believe in, and it is as much our setbacks and heartbreaks that shape us as it is our triumphs and successes in life. Without some sadness and and 'failure' in our life how could we appreciate happiness and success when it comes about? The important thing is that we develop the necessary life skills to cope with stress when it arises, and are able to work through our problems to find the best solution, hopefully learning from any mistakes we make as we go through this process.

That said, there are times in life when we do need a little help along the way. Perhaps to learn the skill of effective decision making, when it seems we are just repeating the same mistakes over and over, or are stuck in a rut and don't know how to get out of it. At those times it can be helpful to find an objective third party, who is able to see your situation from a distance, because when we are too close to a situation our perspective can be distorted, as can those of our closest friends and family. For these people counseling may be an invaluable tool in getting life back on track.

So.. the short answer is: It is normal to feel unhappy sometimes. It is normal to ponder or even fantasize about doing things we would never in reality, ever do. It is not normal to feel happy the majority of the time.. or to have recurrent thoughts of suicide, on a frequent basis (whether or not you feel the person would ever really do that. In these instances it would be best to enlist the help of a counseler, and if the person is not willing to see one, you might consider approaching somebody close to your friend (their parent, or spouse, or sibling for example). If you do this and still believe the person to be a danger to themselves, you do have the option of making a call to an local psychiatric care facility to discuss your concerns with them. It is very important that you do not feel you are alone and responsible for this person's well-being. There is help available

Good luck with this. Please let me know how you are getting on.

:-) Rachel

Suicide Prevention

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Rachel Hurst


All questions sent to me will receive a warm and caring response. I'll do my utmost to address a persons particular problem, but in most cases will also attempt to supply that individual with additional resources which might be of further benefit. There are many helpful online support groups where readers can benefit from the ongoing support of others who have suffered similar problems. These groups offer invaluable peer support from others who have 'been there'. As well as responding to your initial letter, I'll attempt to provide ongoing encouragement when this is needed. Advice will be focused on addressing the writers individual needs, and providing related information and resources. I would try to ensure that any person seeking advice has accurate and up-to-date information on the signs and symptoms of depression, and importantly, is made aware that help is available through many different avenues. Where I feel that it's relative and helpful I would mention my own life experiences with depression and coping with a loved one's suicide (however, only in context.) I would be on the lookout for warning signs that the person is in crisis and may require immediate intervention. As such I would arm myself with as much information as possible in order to refer them to the help they need. In cases where I believed the persons life to be in imminent danger I would contact authorities in their area, or if unknown, I would call the emergency services in my area in order for the person to be located through tracking.


I am by no means a trained professional. My knowledge comes mainly through life experience, having endured the devastating loss of my best friend through suicide, as well as my own subsequent battle with depression following his death. I found that my own experience of losing a loved one to suicide put me in a strong position to help others, due to my ability to empathize (as opposed to sympathizing). I became knowledgeable on the topic of grief, and the extensive repertoire of depressive illnesses, signs, symptoms, and treatment options available to people in crisis.

S.O.L.O.S. Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide - Active member since 2003.

'Marie Claire' Australian, 'Cleo' (Australian), Online discussion forums (in which my submissions have stimulated discussion and generated much feedback).

I am a professional writer. I was trained in journalism. Please see my profile in Linked In. I have studied related subjects during training as a registered nurse. Both of my parents are mental health professionals. However most of reading widely and life experience has been my greatest teacher.

Past/Present Clients
I have helped a number of individuals who have sought my take on a particular problem, or whom I have felt concern for, for various reasons.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]