If ever you feel hopeless about a suicidal client, remember that as long as the person is alive, there is hope for change – even when it seems otherwise.
In my book Helping the Suicidal Person, I talk a lot about the need to maintain hope. This can be difficult, because the suicidal person’s hopelessness can infect you. Sadly, a feeling of hopelessness is often contagious. And your own sense of hopelessness likewise can infect (or re-infect) the suicidal person.
So if you feel hopeless about your client’s ability to survive suicidal urges, actively try to reconnect with hope. Get consultation or talk to a therapist. Remind yourself that nobody’s suicide is inevitable, as I discuss in this post on my other website, SpeakingOfSuicide.com.
And if you need a reminder that a person’s suffering can transform dramatically, check out this video called “What If?” by Craig Miller. As he explains in his memoir This Is How It Feels, Craig endured horrific abuse as a child and repeated psychiatric hospitalizations as an adolescent. He attempted suicide. And he lived to tell about it – beautifully and eloquently. His story is a reminder that the future, as they say, is unwritten.