by Dorothy Paugh
There are countless roads to suicide, but science has mapped and clinical experience has paved a few reliable pathways through “the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” -- Hamlet
Often, we survivors hear how there was nothing we could have done to prevent our loved one’s suicide. These words provide great comfort. Truly, each of us did the best we knew how to do at the time. Of course, we would have given anything, including our own lives, if only that could have changed the terrible outcome.
But for those contemplating suicide or dealing with the threat of suicide from a loved one, there is enough cause for hope to dispel the oppressive air of inevitability. In this Psychology Today article, Dr. Lisa Firestone describes several mental health treatments that target skills-building so suicidal individuals can manage their emotions going forward, rather than focusing on underlying causes or mental illness. If necessary, attention to those matters can come later, once the essential coping skills have been learned and practiced enough to bring some confidence and stability to the individual’s experience of the world.
Behavioral therapy engages the mind and empowers the suicidal individual to assume responsibility for their emotions and actions. These approaches equip troubled individuals with the skills to live, so that the will to live can find a foothold and gain traction.