Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is suicidal, there’s plenty you can do to help save a life.
5 Action Steps you can take to support someone in crisis:
- Watch out
For warning signs, distress and changes in behaviour.
- Speak up & ask
“Are you thinking about hurting yourself?”. It’s not an easy question, but by asking someone who is struggling, you may help save a life.
- Be supportive
- Take the person seriously; listen to them carefully and without judgement;
- Try to offer hope by assuring the person that, with the right help, their suicidal thoughts will pass with time;
- Try not to act shocked and/or try to ‘fix’ problems;
- Don’t promise confidentiality and don’t blame yourself.
- Get professional help
- Try to encourage the person to get the help they need – you can call a crisis line for advice and referrals;
- You might be able to motivate them to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility or even take them to a doctor’s appointment;
- If you think the risk of suicide is high or imminent, respond quickly!
- Stay connected
Keeping in touch after a crisis can make a significant difference – studies have shown the number of suicide deaths go down when someone follows-up with an at-risk person.
If you are feeling suicidal or wanting to support someone who is, you can call a phoneline or message a text line.
Read more to find out what resources are available.