Lama Ole’s answer:
When you think that they are no longer working with their situation and progressing. As long as you feel that they are really engaged and doing what they can, helping is good. But as soon as they make themselves into victims and only expect something, then leave them alone, because in that case they’re not moving forward.
This may sound harsh, and it doesn’t follow the style of the sixties—when our new humanism took shape—but one has to truly think of the person’s wellbeing. The social and psychiatric institutions in Western Europe are now very good. Many of my students work in such places, and I am sure that they do very good work and that others are doing the same. You don’t have to have a bad conscience when you leave someone to the professionals.
We should also not be too soft on people who want to commit suicide. If the candidate starts to get evasive, if he no longer wants to explain or prove anything and says everything sweetly with a fine little smile—from that moment on, you cannot save him anymore. As soon as he has fallen in love with the idea of suicide, there is nothing more you can do. But as long as there is a bit of resistance, as long as there is an inner struggle, you can shock him and say, “You will certainly be reborn in a war zone in Africa!” If the person is a bit intelligent and knows what’s going on in the world, then you can say, “Think about the Hutus and the Tutsis and what’s going on between them!” If they have seen what’s happening there on TV, you might be able to shock them out of their trip.
If we’re just nice all the time, then they fall even more in love with the idea of suicide since everyone is taking it so seriously. Then they commit suicide because of the others and not because of themselves. In the end, they have talked about it so much that they have to do it.