- Allow the person to express feelings.
- Take suicide threats seriously.
- Be non-judgmental.
- Say things such as:
- “I’m here for you.”
- “Let’s talk.”
- “I care about what happens to you.”
- “It’s not unusual to feel this way.”
- Let him or her know depression is treatable.
- Show interest and support.
- “Are you having suicidal thoughts?”
- “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
- Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
- Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
- Don’t be sworn to secrecy.
- Say things such as “You are too important to me. I can’t keep this a secret.”
- Don’t worry about being disloyal to the individual.
- Get professional help for the person (here).
- If the person is in crisis, don’t leave him or her alone.
- If possible, remove potential weapons, drugs and alcohol. DO NOT put yourself in danger.
- Tell the person that alternatives are available, but do not offer empty words of reassurance (“You’ll feel better in the morning”, etc.)
- Don’t leave it up to them to get help by themselves. See that appointments for professional evaluation and treatment are made.
- You can say things such as:
- “Let’s go talk to someone who can help.”
- “Go see someone for me; I don’t want to worry; I can’t leave here until I know you are safe.”
Remember that you can not:
- Help this person all by yourself- get support
- Act for the person
- Control how the person feels
- Make the person kill him/herself
- Stop the suicide if the person is determined and has the means