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Talking to a Person Who May be Suicidal
Remain calm and choose a private place to talk .
Use “I” statements to talk about what you have noticed.
Use a direct approach, Ask:
“Are you thinking of killing yourself?” or “Are you thinking of suicide?”
Listen and speak non-judgmentally
Don’t get angry, minimize, ignore, lecture, threaten, debate or moralize.
Don’t try to counsel them but refer them to resources in this brochure.
If they say they are thinking of suicide, ask:
“Do you have a specific plan?”
“Do you have the means to do it?”
“Have you thought about when you would do it?”
If the person has a plan and/or access to means, do not leave them alone and urge them to seek help immediately:
Call 911 and/or the National Suicide Prevention Lifelines 1-800-273-8255
Accompany them to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Seek immediate help from a mental health provider.
Urge them to temporarily remove lethal means (guns, pills, etc.) from their home
Maintain contact to provide follow-up support.
If they say they are not thinking suicide
Keep probing if you remain concerned.
Let them know that you would want to help them if they ever do have thoughts of suicide.
Do NOT express relief or say “Good!” if the person says they are not suicidal. If they actually are feeling suicidal, they may think you don’t really want to know.
Encourage them to contact a mental health provider.
Give them the National Hotline number and ask them to download the Lifeguard app.
Maintain contact to provide support and encouragement.