When Someone Says They Do Not Want to Live

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It is frightening if a child or a loved one wishes he or she were not here, or expresses feelings about wanting to die. Many people, at one time or another, think about dying as an escape from pain or the reality of their lives.

It may be that negative feelings become overwhelming, and everything feels hopeless. Sometimes the feelings come when one feels life is out of control, or they have given up control. The wish to die may also stem from a desire to hurt or punish those who have hurt us, or let us down.

If these feelings are more than passing thoughts when things are tough, the person having them needs help and encouragement. Life can be difficult, and some individuals have less stamina than others.

Yes, we can tell them that death is taking the easy way out, and that it takes courage to face life’s challenges, but that may not help someone who is truly depressed . They may not care about courage, only about ending their pain.

Likely, and individual having these feelings feels lonely and isolated, and probably misunderstood. They really need someone to talk to who will truly listen, and help them to develop strategies to deal with their life issues.

A medical doctor and/or psychologist should be involved. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, and if there is serious depression, medication should be prescribed. A psychologist can assess the level of depression , make a recommendation regarding medication, and work with the client to become engaged in life once again. For some, a trusting relationship with a caring counselor can truly be life saving.

It is hard to hear someone say they want to die. It is especially hard if it seems to be a manipulative ploy. Even if it is, the person still needs help. Getting angry and telling them to “just go and do it then,” is a risky strategy, and not recommended.

If someone has expressed to you that they do not want to be here anymore, you must recognize this as a real cry for help. It may be that their emotional tank is on “low,” or even running on empty. Stay connected with them until you are sure they have professional help, and that significant others are aware of the dangerous situation.

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