Words: a Lifeline to a Suicidal Person

By Karen Kosman:

Sometimes an encouraging word can be what a suicidal person needs to hear.

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver. Proverbs 25: 11


Hope image by Stuart Miles FDP net

Is it safe to say that words make the world-go-around?

It’s true that words are powerful and make impressions on our hearts, minds and souls. They can be used to tear down and destroy our self-esteem, forming a destructive foundation for the rest of our lives. Depression, behavioral problems, and physical illnesses are often direct outcomes of emotional abuse—often resulting in invisible scars.

For those trapped in a pit of depression negative self-talk chips away at their ability to reach out and think logically. They have forgotten how to touch, how to cry, and even how to laugh. They do not really want to die, only to escape the pain that rages within them.

Often others don’t know how to react to someone they know is severely depressed. They may feel it best not to say anything negative, or encouraging. But this action only isolates the suicidal person more. However, kind words can seem to a depressed individual like a lifeline of hope.

As a training coordinator for new phlebotomists I experienced opportunities to reach out to the brokenhearted at the hospital where I’d worked for many years.

One day at the hospital, I went with a new phlebotomist to assist her. To my surprise a guard sat outside one patient’s room, but I had no idea why. I went to the nurses station to inquire and learned a teenage boy had attempted suicide, and his parents hired the guard to watch him.

As we entered the room, a pale, sad teen looked up. He said, “It won’t do any good you know?”

“Tell me,” I asked, “what won’t do any good?”

“The guard. I’ll go home sooner or later.”

“Is your life that painful?” I asked.

“Who cares?”

“I do.”

His eyes softened and he smiled.

As I left his room I determined to visit him later, but the opportunity never arrived. The next day he was moved to another facility.

Often I thought of this young man and prayed others spoke encouragingly to him. It only takes a moment to reach out to someone hurting.

Encouraging a suicidal person to seek help demonstrates to them that you care. Listening to them sends the message that what they have to say is important.

This story contains inserts from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.