Crisis professionals use a technique that helps individuals considering suicide see the bigger picture and get out of the immediate negative thoughts that are pervasive: The Pros/Cons of Living List.
The strategy is fairly simple. You sit with the suicidal individual and help them build a list or reasons to live and reasons not to live.
Yes, you also want to look at the reasons they give for not wanting to live. It will help you: a) Understand what they are dealing with more accurately than assuming, and 2) Allow them an outlet for their negative thoughts.
Here’s the most important part. You want to make sure the reasons for living outweighs the reasons not to live list. That is easy because it always does. Reasons like wanting to get married and have kids one day in the future can weigh heavier then the immediate pain.
It helps to put life into context. It’s not just about the moment they are dealing with. The moment will pass. Things will get better.
Here’s an example of a list: