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If a friend says she's suicidal, should you take her seriously?

Depressed people often have suicidal thoughts. They see no end to their anguish; they can't believe in a happy outcome; and they sometimes think they don't deserve to live or their families would be better off without them. As many as 10 to 15 percent of depressed patients commit suicide. Some 50 to 70 percent of all suicides are committed by people with depression. So you should be concerned about a friend who says she's suicidal.

Your friend might need the assurance that she has an illness, that help is available, and that seeking help shows strength rather than weakness.

The best thing you can do for your friend is to make sure she is getting proper professional help. People with serious major depression should be evaluated by psychiatrists who are experienced with psychiatric medications. Because of inertia, difficulty in making decisions, ignorance, shame, and denial, depressed people often do not get treatment, causing unnecessary, prolonged suffering, and preventable deaths through suicide.

Sometimes a friend or family member must communicate directly with a doctor to make sure the doctor is aware of the patient's suicidal thinking. Hospitalization might be necessary if the suicide risk seems great.

Psychological firms that provide supports for If a friend says she's suicidal, should you take her seriously? . . .

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how can a 11 year old get help for her to not take her life?

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