The Do’s and Don’ts of Suicide Prevention

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:

DOs

  • 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.

DONT’S

  • 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

Read More About How to Help Prevent Suicide

Help Someone Suicidal

 

GET HELP:

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.

International readers can click here for a list of helplines and crisis centers around the world.

Click here to locate a therapist in your area

Return to our Suicide Prevention Advice Page

Related Articles:

Coping Suggestions for the Suicidal Person
Helper Tasks – How You Can Help Someone Who’s Suicidal
Suicide: The Warning Signs
Suicide: How You Can Help Someone at Risk

Busting the Myths About Suicide

About the Author

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One Comment

Ally C

Hey, these are great suggestions but “offer empathy, not sympathy” needs to be on the “DO” list! 🙂

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