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Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for people across all age groups.  The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness become so intense that a person believes this is the only way to rid one’s self of them.  It has been called a very selfish act because the person does not seem to think of anyone else but him/herself – not seeming to care about the people who are left behind to grieve the loss and deal with possible guilt about not having done anything about it.  When Dr. Schregardus teaches about suicide, she tells students first of all to never be afraid of asking someone if he/she is thinking about suicide.  Some people seem to fear that if you ask a person about suicide, he/she will begin to think about it and possibly complete suicide.  Usually if you ask, that kind of thinking has already been taking place, and the person may need help to overcome the desire to end his/her life.  Dr. Schregardus advises a conversation something like this:
You:  I am getting the feeling that you are possibly considering suicide.  Is that true? 
Client:  Yes 
You:  Do you have a plan?
Client:  Yes
You:  What is the plan?
The answer to this question will determine your next step.  If it is a realistic plan that they would be very capable of carrying out (e.g., overdosing on meds, hanging oneself, etc.), your response would be as follows: 
You:  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most likely, how likely are you to carry out this plan in the very near future?
If the answer is a high number, you will want to confer with a caregiver/relative and refer the client to the nearest psychiatric hospital for an assessment.  If it is a lower number, you can decide whether to refer or to try to make a contract with the client that they will not do anything without calling you first and/or try contacting a close friend/relative so he/she can keep in touch with the client.
Again, this is material that must be read in its entirety!

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