Helping Yourself and Helping Others 431
Helping someone who wants to kill herself
Anyone who suffers from serious depression is at risk for
suicide. A woman may not readily talk about thoughts of suicide,
but she will often admit them if asked. If she does, then try to
• Does she have a plan about how to kill herself?
• Does she have a way to carry out the plan? Is
she planning to kill others as well (for example,
• Has she ever tried suicide before?
• Is her judgment affected by alcohol or drugs?
• Is she isolated from family or friends?
• Has she lost the desire to live?
• Does she have a serious health problem?
• Is she young and going through a serious
If a woman
has made a plan
for killing herself, she
needs help right away.
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, she is at a
greater risk for attempting suicide than other people. To help,
first try talking with her. Some people may begin to feel better
simply by telling you about their problems. If so, or if she still
feels bad but is more in
control of her feelings
than before, ask her to
promise that she will not
hurt herself without
talking to you first.
If talking about her
problems does not
help, or if she cannot
promise to talk to
you, then she needs
to be watched closely.
Always tell the person
that you plan to talk
with others to help protect her. Talk to her family and friends,
encouraging someone to be with her at all times. Ask them to
remove dangerous objects from her surroundings.
If there are mental health services in her community, find out
if someone can talk with her regularly. Medicine for depression
may also be helpful.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012