Ways To Help

The following a a number of things you can do to begin helping the person you feel might be at risk of suicide. Remember — when supporting someone, always ensure that you have support yourself.

  • Ask directly if you think someone you know is thinking about suicide. 
  • Be willing to listen. Allow their expressions of feelings, and accept those 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. Focus on being present with their feelings. 
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support. 
  • Don't act shocked. This will put distance between you. Be patient with yourself and the situation.  
  • Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek support. 
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance. 
  • Take action. If it is safe for you to do so, remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from resources on and off campus that specialize in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
  • Encourage (and offer to accompany) your friend to seek help and support from a crisis specialist, therapist, doctor and/or clergy member. 
  • Check in/follow up regularly. Schedule times to talk for the next week when you will both be available, to see how they are doing.
  • Show them the safety or “crisis coping plan”, and talk together about how your friend can use this to help him/her to cope in these difficult moments.
  • Make sure you have support.