POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 89 SUICIDE IN CHILDREN AND YOUTH: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS even if those stresses don't directly cause a person to feel suicidal, the stress nonetheless doesn't help. Things you might say to help problem-solving include: - "Sometimes people think of hurting themselves when they're under stress or trying to deal with some problem" - "What's the stress that your dealing with?" - "Is there some particular problem that you're trying to deal with?" - "I'm here for you and want to help you work through this..." If you discover your relative after a suicide attempt: 1. Call 911 (or an ambulance) immediately. 2. If you know first aid, administer it immediately. 3. Phone someone to go with you to the hospital; or to stay with you at home. 4. After you come home from the hospital, do not try to handle things alone. Have other relatives or friends to talk to, and consider contacting a support group, or counselor/therapist for yourself as well. Providing a safe home for a person who is feeling suicidal Whenever someone has thoughts about suicide, whether those thoughts are active or not, make your home a safer place by removing potential sources of harm: 1. Remove firearms and weapons Make sure that there are no firearms, ammunition nor weapons in the home. Remove any fire arms from the home by giving to a trusted friend/neighbour, or by taking them to the local police station if no other options can be found. 2. Remove alcohol Since alcohol affects rational thinking and lowers inhibitions, alcohol can be a risk factor for suicide. Hence, remove alcohol from the home or keep in small amounts only. 3. Medications Prescription medications should be locked up. People who are depressed often overdose on the very medications that they are prescribed for depression. Fortunately, in general, newer medications prescribed for depression (such as Fluoxetine/ProzacTM Fluvoxamine/LuvxTM, Sertraline/ZoloftTM, Paroxetine/PaxilTM, Citalopram/CelexaTM) are significantly safer than the older medications, even in overdose. Nonetheless, it is still best to lock them up anyways. Make sure that when prescriptions are filled, that you have safe amounts of medication on hand, which makes it harder to overdose. Ask the physician or pharmacist to dispense safe amounts. Supervise your child when s/he takes medication(s). Dispose of all unused or out-of-date medications, by taking them to the local pharmacy for disposal. Lock up or get rid of over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (TylenolTM), acetylsalicylic acid (AspirinTM, or ASA). These medications can be dangerous in overdose, so it is safest to remove them from the home. 4. Remove any other means of suicide Remove or lock up cords, ropes, sharp knives, or other obvious means of self-harm. ►