Let Suicidal People Talk
by Kevin Caruso
Justin Draguns, a psychology professor at Penn State, received a call from a distressed woman one night at about midnight.
"I'm going to kill myself," she proclaimed.
That night occurred 20 years ago, but Dragnus remembers it as if it were yesterday.
He was deeply concerned, but knew that the woman was also reaching out for help.
"When someone says, 'I'm thinking or I'm planning to kill myself,' I assume it's only part of the story," he Dragnus said. "They are really saying, 'I would not be calling you if that's all I plan to do.' It's a challenge. Make me back away from suicide if you can."
He wanted the woman to talk so he could understand her mental state. And he wanted to listen closely for anything that would tie the women to life.
He started the conversation with these words: "Tell me about it." And the woman began talking about everything that was on her mind.
About a half hour into the call, the woman said, "I have to get off the phone. I have to let in my cat."
But Dragnus did not let the woman go. "Tell me about your cat," he said.
Then he began asking questions about the cat, what it looked like, how old was it, what it liked to do.
The woman soon realized that her cat was worth living for.
She did not die by suicide.
Let suicidal people talk.
And oftentimes their reasons to live will come out of their own mouth.
Please click below for additional information on helping a suicidal person:
How to Talk to Suicidal Callers
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.