What Do I Do If I Am Talking To Someone Who Is Feeling Suicidal?
The information below will be immediately helpful. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will provide immediate response for your friend. Where in-person counseling is not available or is being resisted, this would be a way to help in taking the next step.
What if Someone Needs Help Online?
If you see someone online who is suicidal, there are several steps you can take to help this person:
• Give him or her a helpful resource – Send 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and our website www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Tell him/her we are available 24/7 for anyone in suicidal crisis in the United States
• Take his/her words seriously and respond with compassion
• Encourage him/her to reach out for help to a friend, family member, counselor, clergy and other community members
• If the person online is saying he/she is going to kill him or herself at that moment or is in the process of attempting suicide, please try to find his/her location and call the local police or 911.
How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide
• Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
• Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
• Be non-judgmental. Don't debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture on the value of life.
• Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
• Don't dare him or her to do it.
• Don't act shocked. This will put distance between you.
• Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
• Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
• Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
• Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Be Aware of Feelings
Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and thoughts they experience:
• Can't stop the pain
• Can't think clearly
• Can't make decisions
• Can't see any way out
• Can't sleep, eat or work
• Can't get out of depression
• Can't make the sadness go away
• Can't see a future without pain
• Can't see themselves as worthwhile
• Can't get someone's attention
• Can't seem to get control
If you experience these feelings, get help! If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!
This content was developed by the American Association of Suicidology.