Although suicide is a fairly heavy topic and conjures up all kinds of negative images, nevertheless it should be talked about, however briefly within this scope.

When deciding what aspects to cover with this topic, and there are many, I decided to talk about risk assessment. One of the most important aspects of my job while working with high risk clients was knowing how to act fast in the face of suicidal ideations.

If you or someone you know is expressing suicidal thoughts, these must be taken seriously at all times. There are a few issues that you should be aware of, and find out the answers to, in order to determine how imminent suicidal intention is. First, determine if the person has a plan to commit suicide. This will give an indication if they are able to follow through with a suicide attempt. Secondly, determine if the person has the means in which to carry out a suicide. If the person is talking about killing themselves with an overdose, do they have the pills, drugs, alcohol or combination of these to carry out the plan? Thirdly, determine if the person has the lethality to succeed with the suicide. This means that if the person does indeed possess the pills, drugs, alcohol or combination of those necessary to carry out the overdose, will it be lethal? If you don't know for sure then assume that it can be lethal.

So, for example, if the person says that they will overdose when everyone is away from the house, that would be a plan. If they say that they have pills, drugs and alcohol at their disposal, or access to them, then this says that they have the means to do it. If the type of pills, type of drugs and amount of alcohol is enough to kill them then they indeed possess the lethality to succeed in the suicide attempt. Even if they don't possess the lethality to carry out a suicide, for example, they have a small amount of hormone pills, a couple of joints and a half litre of wine, then this may not be lethal but nevertheless they should still be referred to a psychiatrist or family doctor for assessment of depression or suicidal ideation.

Unless you have specific training in determining if any pills, drugs, alcohol or combination of them can be lethal, then I would strongly urge you to call a doctor or 911 and have the person brought in for an assessment. The mere suggestion of suicide is a serious indication that a person has deeper issues that need treatment. Please don't put off suicidal ideations as something that may be too embarrassing to deal with, or that you don't think is serious enough to warrant getting help with. Regardless if someone has expressed suicidal thoughts in the past and has never followed through, or has expressed them as a part of "acting out", don't assume that this time will be the same. Many people express suicidal ideations multiple times before they go through with it.

You can call any pharmacy, hospital, doctor's office or drug treatment centre for information on the lethality of any combination of drugs or alcohol, as well as for guidance about what to do if you are unsure. But ACT, you may save a life.

Hopefully you'll never have to experience this, but now you are prepared, so always remember to keep your face to the sunshine!

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl has been a certified clinical counsellor for over 12 years. Her experience and education are in the areas of counselling, developmental disabilities, mental health and addictions. Cheryl also holds a specialized forensic certification in the areas of high risk sexual behaviours and anger management. In addition, Cheryl also has many years of experience and training as a Spiritual Coach, studying spiritual philosophies under the guidance of Buddhist Monks.

Cheryl uses a diverse repertoire of skills that enable her to guide individuals so that they can foster healthy, positive and sustainable change in their lives and foster the ideal vision of their existence.

Cheryl adds a component of spirituality to her practice in respect to positive and negative energy flow and how our thoughts, emotions, and actions relate to whether we manifest positive or negative influences in our lives. Using her spiritual philosophy for many years with successful results, Cheryl now incorporates this as well as other diverse spiritual aspects in her counselling to help people manifest their ideal lives.

Cheryl has also practices in the area of women's issues and what we can expect in our developing lifespan. Her outcomes have produced positive results, as well as sustainable change.

With two years of nursing, behaviour modification, augmentative communication (the study of non-verbal communication), and three years of pharmacology education, Cheryl is proficient in related areas of overall health and wellbeing.

As well as counselling and coaching, Cheryl also conducts workshops and seminars pertaining to elements of behavioural change as well as motivational speaking.

You can contact Cheryl at or 416-919-9831