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08 Nov 2006

Urgent help
One of my friends mailed me this morning and he's joking about committing suicide. Please, how do I handle this? He said he thinks about it often, he feels very depressed very often and has often thought about ending it all. I told him that he needs to talk to someone but he says that's going to take too long to help him, he needs a quick fix... How should I handle this? What must I tell him?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

This is always a terrible dilemma to be in. And its not at all an unusual response for someone in his state of mind to choose to confide in someone good, like you --- but someone who is far enough away not to be able to intervene properly. It's as though they open a very tiny opportunity to be helped, but load the odds against its success.
Is there someone in Pretoria, a mutual friend perhaps, some members of his family, who you could contact, who could intervene more personally ? Could he be persuaded to call Lifeline and talk it over ? Has he ever seen a shrink before now ( which seems very possible ) --- if so, couldn't he be persuaded to visit that shrink again ? He seems to have a warped idea of shrinks, in the sense of assuming that any intervention would take ages. That's where CBT is so important in making a significant impact very early on, rather than aiming at spending years noodling around in the past. Can he be persuaded to give proper professional help a fair chance, by seeing someone able and for at least a few weeks to see if things start to come right ?
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