Tom Ellis, director of Psychology at The Menninger Clinic said:
I learned that first, you must remember that a person thinking about taking his/her life is not thinking clearly. That individual is trying to find a solution for devastating, painful, overwhelming problems and believes because his/her brain is not physically functioning, that suicide is the only answer. That person has tunnel vision and is suffering so badly that it hurts physically. They have zero hope. Their brain is not functioning just as people’s hearts, kidneys, knees and sciatic nerves do not function at times, which is why it’s ridiculous to make someone feel ashamed of having a mental health issue.
To quote Dr. Ellis; I learned to tell them; I’m listening. I care about you. I’m scared too. Let’s get some help. I’ll help you find a therapist and I’ll drive you and wait with you. I won’t leave you. If you don’t like the first therapist, we’ll find one you do like. There are other solutions to your pain and the therapist you like will help you find them. I will not be better off if you die. I will be worse off and it will sadden me for the rest of my life.
All suicide threats must be taken seriously. He feels that it is an act of courage for a therapist and patient to talk about suicide.
Life-saving therapists have been known to say things like ‘Let’s talk about ways of keeping you safe without going into the hospital. Tell me about the pain that makes you want to die and what makes you want to live.’