The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has a trove of information about crisis intervention and advocacy. In this article, AFSP provides concrete steps you can take to help someone who is at risk. You can read the original article here.
HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION
- Talk to them in private.
- Listen to their story.
- Tell them you care about them.
- Ask directly if they are thinking about suicide.
- Encourage them to seek treatment or contact their doctor or therapist.
- Avoid debating the value of life, minimizing their problems or giving advice.
ASSUME YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO WILL REACH OUT
If you’re concerned about someone, talk in private.
Listen to their story, and let them know you care. Ask directly about suicide, calmly and without judgement. Show understanding and take their concerns seriously. Let them know their life matters to you. That one conversation could save a life.
IF A PERSON SAYS THEY’RE THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE, TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY
Someone considering suicide is experiencing a life-threatening health crisis and may not believe they can be helped. Work with them to keep them safely away from lethal means like firearms and drugs and remind them that their suffering is temporary.
Stay with them and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988.
Be sure to follow up with them after the crisis to see how they’re doing.
IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING
Don’t wait for someone to reach out.
Seek mental health treatment, or tell your clinician about your suicidal thinking.
Treat yourself like you would treat someone else who needs your help.
IF A PERSON SAYS THEY ARE CONSIDERING SUICIDE
- Take the person seriously.
- Stay with them.
- Help them remove lethal means.
- Call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
- to talk or text with a trained crisis counselor for free, 24/7
- Escort them to mental health services or an emergency room