First of all *hugs* and I am so sorry you are going through this.
I dealt with depression and suicidal urges for 6 years, and tried my hand at it twice when I was 20 and 21... just so you know where I'm coming from.
Yes to everything "meemee" said.
The fact that she said she "just wants to die somehow" is a good indicator that she is not in immediate danger, (according to hospital psych evals). As you keep the dialogue open, noting whether it sounds like she actually has a plan nor method in mind, and asking outright is an important indicator of how immediate the danger is.
Finding a therapist is good and important, if she is up for it, ask what characteristics and or style she thinks would be helpful or what she definitely doesn't want. This could be useful in weeding out therapists via email/profiles. The first therapist probably won't be the perfect fit, that doesn't mean therapy can't help, but personalities and need/expertise have to fit, so it can take a while to get a good match. Going in with this in mind can help prevent despair. If she really feels in crisis, then she may have to settle temporarily for someone to keep tabs on her status/help keep her safe.
If you can let out your emotions around this when you are away from her, and stay calm and receptive when she shares, it will be easier on her. You can still verbalize that you are scared for her or it makes you sad that she is dealing with such dark thoughts, but if you get really emotional about it, she may feel the need to protect you by hiding her thoughts.
Frequent check-ins are a good idea. It can be as simple as a text that says "thinking about you".
"I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her, like if I say anything wrong, I might set her off and drive her to suicide."... You cannot take on responsibility for her depression or actions. If she were to try to hurt herself, no-one would be at blame but mental-illness. The most you can do for someone is just be there. You cannot fix this. Let her be sad or angry or quiet, and don't try to fix it, just be with her in it. In conversations about these things, just reflecting back what you hear her saying and asking about what it's like to experience such things is usually a good approach.
I think these blog posts can be really helpful for understanding depression. In fact you could share them with her and ask what parts she identifies with.
I am open to answering any questions you have. Obviously, I can't tell you what is going on inside her head/feelings, but I've had a lot of years of thinking about and experiencing this stuff.
My thoughts are with you.
Edited by ZAMsmama - 10/29/13 at 9:12pm