The following suggestions for talking with someone at risk of suicide are adapted from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and various prevention programs:
- Speak openly and honestly about your concern. Asking someone directly if they are considering suicide often provides relief.
- Be willing to listen with compassion and without judgment. Do not express shock or horror. It is important to listen.
- Do not try to persuade the individual that their situation is ‘not that bad’. You really don’t know what their experience is.
- Do offer to help find support and assistance. Often someone who is considering suicide just cannot see solutions to their problems. That doesn’t mean that solutions don’t exist.
- If you can, accompany the person to an Emergency Room, to a therapist, member of the clergy, or other support who can help.
- Do not promise secrecy.
- Remove means of suicide or separate the person from the means if you can do so safely. Do not put yourself in danger.
- After you’ve helped the individual connect with someone who can help, if possible, check in with them, remain involved and supportive.