I've dealt with this issue before in my life. A good friend of mine took their life and I could have talked them down. I just didn't know how.

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The best thing is to just talk and listen. Make a connection with them and talk about that (do you/they have kids, family? Are they religious? etc.) Find something in that connection to give them hope for the future.

Be wary offering advice because it can throw some people off and they are less likely to listen to you.

You can ask them how you can help, but don't make promises you can't keep. Which leads me to...

Don't promise them it will get better because it might not. If you talk them down right now, by promising that it will get better but it doesn't, it very well could lead them back onto that ledge and it'll be much harder to get them back down.

Source: This is what I remember from police academy when we went over this topic. I probably missed a few points.


One thing I've found from consoling depressed people is that one of the worst things you can do is the whole "well, you can actually fix what's wrong in your life! It's just in your reach! Have you tried ,, & ?" I personally like it when people give me advice, but many depressed people do not seek this when confiding in others. This will get those people to shut down completely as they do not believe they have anywhere near the energy required to do anything like what is being suggested.

What you SHOULD do is sympathize when them and be compassionate. Nod and make eye contact and touch them (if appropriate). Say "Is there anything you would like me to do to help?" and say "I'm here to listen to you". Talk to them with patience and, if possible, try to get them to eat or drink something with you- preferably something sweet, like a dessert or a sweet coffee drink/hot chocolate. Making them laugh is one of the greatest things you can do, but don't try too hard.

NEVER ever ever say anything along the lines of "You're actually lucky because you aren't starving in a third world country! Look on the bright side!" This only makes them feel worse because they will agree with you and then feel guilty for being so depressed.

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Everyone's different, but these are some general guidelines I've found through personal experience. Not a psychologist, but I am a fairly happy & mellow person and so many depressed/suicidal people often confide in me.