Helping someone who is thinking about suicide

If you are worried about someone else, it is important to talk about suicide. Talking about suicide will not give them ideas. You need to talk about it to figure out how you can help.

Start by asking the other person if they are thinking about suicide. If so, find out if they have a plan to end their life soon. If they answer ‘yes’, then this is an emergency situation and you should not leave them alone. Call the suicide hotline at (800) 273-8255 or dial 9-1-1 for emergency workers. Stay with the person until they go to the hospital or emergency workers say that it is safe.

If they do not have a plan to end their life, they still need help. You can help them find professional and community resources.

If your friend is struggling with thoughts of suicide—listen.

Listening shows your friend that he or she is not alone. You do not have to say much, but being there for them is truly helpful. Here are some important things to remember.

  • Take them seriously. They are in pain and they need help.
  • Listen and respond without judging them or make fun of them.
  • Do not make any promises that you cannot keep. They need to trust you.
  • Show that you understand they have a serious problem. You should not give advice like, “cheer up” or “pull yourself together.”
  • Tell them things like, “You are really important to me” or “I don’t want you to die” or “Let me help you to find other solutions.”

Ask if they are willing to talk to someone or call the suicide hotline. The people who run crisis lines are trained to help others. You can call the suicide hotline and talk to someone about the situation at any time. It is a free call and open 24/7.

Remember! No one expects you to be a counselor.

If you are worried about yourself or another person, call the crisis line at (800) 273-TALK (8255). If you think that someone’s life is in danger, dial 9-1-1.