Begin a dialogue by asking questions.
Suicidal thoughts can be experienced by anyone regardless of race, color, education level, gender, age,
religion or socioeconomic status. Your willingness to talk about it in a nonjudgmental, non-confrontational way
can be the first step in someone seeking professional help.
Questions that are okay to ask
(Note – talking about suicide will not make someone do it, in fact, talking openly about it is one of the best
ways to help someone):
• Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?
Asking these questions
• Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?
• Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?
• Have you thought about what method you would use?
• What, if anything, has stopped you from doing it?
will help you to determine if your friend or family member is in immediate danger
and if so, you can support them by getting them help.
• A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately.
• Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic
suicide attempt or death.
• Calling 988 - the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, also at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a resource
for you or the person you care about for help. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans
for suicide seriously.
Never keep a plan for suicide a secret.
Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. It is better to lose a relationship or
have someone upset with you due to violating their confidence than it is to go to a funeral or deal with the guilt
of wishing you had taken action. If you help, they will likely come back and thank you for saving their life.
Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind.
Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering that it’s not that bad, or
that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. They will feel you
don’t understand or feel like they are wrong for feeling the way they do. Reassure them that help is available,
that what they are experiencing is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary.
If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger...
acknowledge the pain is legitimate and offer to work with them to get help. If you offer to help, it will be very
important that you follow through with what you said you were going to do.
• Help find a doctor or a mental health professional.
• Participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment.
• If you are in a position to help, don’t assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Keep
offering and be there for when they need you.
If someone is not at imminent risk, but is experiencing suicidal thoughts, action should be taken.
Suicidal ideation should never be minimized. This action may include:
• Call 988 - the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (also: 800-273-TALK)
• Call a local counseling office and schedule an urgent appointment.
• Call the EAP to speak with a licensed counselor 24/7.