What is Suicide Intervention?

Marjorie McAtee

A suicide intervention is a type of suicide prevention counseling that generally occurs when a person is making a suicide attempt or threatening to attempt suicide. This type of intervention can be made by family and friends with the assistance of a counselor or psychologist. A type of suicide intervention often known as suicide crisis intervention may occur when the person is actively attempting suicide or making apparently genuine threats to attempt suicide imminently. This type of suicide intervention may require the assistance of law enforcement officers, physicians, and hospital staff.

Psychologial counseling services may be required to prevent suicide.
Psychologial counseling services may be required to prevent suicide.

Experts in suicide prevention usually recommend that all suicide threats be taken seriously. Many people who suffer from depression may consider suicide, and people who are depressed, or have recently suffered great personal trauma, may be at increased risk for suicide. Depression is a mental illness, but it can usually be successfully treated. People who talk about wanting or planning to commit suicide may be depressed. Suicide prevention seeks to provide depressed people with medical and psychiatric help so that they can recover from depression and stop experiencing thoughts of suicide.

All suicide threats should be taken seriously to prevent the possibility of someone taking his or her own life.
All suicide threats should be taken seriously to prevent the possibility of someone taking his or her own life.

Many people who experience suicidal feelings do so for a long time. Even for a depressed person, the decision to commit suicide is often a difficult one. People who are struggling with feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide may discuss these thoughts and feelings with close family members or friends for weeks, months, or years prior to making any actual suicide attempt. These people can usually benefit from suicide prevention tactics that involve treating depression, improving overall mood, and eliminating suicidal thoughts and feelings.

A suicide intervention may be needed for people who abuse anti-depressants.
A suicide intervention may be needed for people who abuse anti-depressants.

People who suffer from other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, might develop suicidal feelings more suddenly. Some people struggling with feelings of depression might hide those feelings from loved ones, and may therefore appear to have developed suicidal thoughts and feelings suddenly. Suicide crisis intervention teams may be called upon to prevent these people from committing suicide when they appear to be making, or are about to make, an attempt.

Individuals who are depressed and traumatized may be at increased risk for suicide.
Individuals who are depressed and traumatized may be at increased risk for suicide.

Law enforcement officers are generally the first to intervene in an on-going suicide attempt or threat. Officers generally seek to gain the person's trust and compliance with the suicide intervention. Officers must usually attempt to remove any weapons from the person's body and vicinity. Once the person's safety is assured, he is usually taken to a hospital for evaluation by medical personnel. A physician, psychiatrist, and other personnel must usually be consulted to diagnose any mental illness, and concoct a treatment plan.

Suicide intervention programs may draw inspiration from religious sources.
Suicide intervention programs may draw inspiration from religious sources.
Interventions are usually organized by friends and family who have shared concerns.
Interventions are usually organized by friends and family who have shared concerns.

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