When you are assisting someone who you feel may be suicidal, there are certain things you should do and certain things you should not. Here, briefly, are some of the DOs and DONT’S of suicide prevention:
Be aware. Learn the warning signs
Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
Ask if she or he is thinking about suicide
Be direct. Talk openly and freely 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 feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
Don’t dare him or her to do it.
Don’t ask why. This encourages defensiveness
Offer empathy, not sympathy.
Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
Offer hope that alternatives are available and Take Action
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN CRISIS OR IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE HELP, CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
This is a free hotline available 24 hours a day to anyone in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.