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What should you do if someone tells you they are thinking about suicide?

First, remember that suicide is almost always an impulsive decision, and it can be prevented if the person gets immediate treatment.

What should you do if someone tells you they are thinking about suicide?

First, remember that suicide is almost always an impulsive decision, and it can be prevented if the person gets immediate treatment. Second, don't leave the person alone. Keep them talking, let them know you care about them and give them someone to call for help. Third, try not to make any promises to the person as they will most likely break those as well. Fourth, encourage them to seek outside professional help such as a hotline or psychiatric hospitalization-inpatient program which usually requires a referral from a physician who knows the individual well enough to feel comfortable making this recommendation.


Fifth and last but not least important- remember that everyone has good days and bad days! Sometimes things just seem impossible when you.


If someone tells you they are thinking about suicide, it's very important to understand that most suicidal people think about dying and not actually doing it. Suicide is a plan and the person with the plan is thinking through how they will do this. This means we can increase their safety by showing we care and taking practical steps to manage risk. For every "I want to kill myself" statement, there might be an underlying message of significant despair or hopelessness up for your interpretation which you need to pay attention to as these may lead you to a productive dialogue where hope can be reignited.



Being calm and reassuring and providing an emergency contact and encouraging them to call should be your first response. This may not work though so it's important you have other follow-up steps in place.

1) Educate yourself about this situation so that you know how best to help the person in crisis, talk with a specialist if necessary.

2) Avoid aggressive or hostile reactions, instead, try being empathetic while not dismissing their feelings because suicidal thoughts are always a sign of extreme emotional distress.

3) Let the person know they can trust you to listen without judgment before gradually guiding them towards professional help - offer reassurance that treatment is only temporary but necessary for their wellbeing



Suicidal thoughts may come from a sudden, strong feeling of despair and hopelessness. It can be as if an instant storm has been dumped on your head, drenching you with the cold, dark water of death. You might feel as if no one will ever or could ever understand how bad it seems to you right now. All this weight feels so heavy and out of control, that suicide starts to seem like a way out. But there is hope!


Acknowledge the person's feelings by telling them "I'm sorry that you're going through this". Trying to say their name to get their attention and then ask them how they are doing.


If the person is at imminent risk, call Emergency.  Seek medical attention or go to a hospital for self-care services.  Offer to stay with them or call for help if they refuse both options. Speak calmly and clearly, listen to their troubles without judgment, be patient and understanding. Let them know you want to help and that they are not alone through these challenges (or tell them anything else comforting). If they seem like they'll be OK on their own but could use some nonjudgmental support later that day or tomorrow, offer to take care of them then. If you're feeling intimidated by this situation (thinking "I can't do this!"), please remember that this person came


One of the most dangerous situations is when a suicidal person points a gun at themselves while they are sitting in front of you. In that situation, get on your knees and then slowly touch it from behind. By touching the gun from behind, there's no chance he will suddenly turn around and shoot before you have time to react. Tell him clearly that you're getting the bullet away from him, so he doesn't hurt anyone else. If he wants to talk about what's going on or if he shows any interest in giving up, try to listen calmly for a while without criticizing or interrupting them too much.


Listen to their thoughts and feelings without judgment or judgment. Reassure the person that you will do anything they need you to do if they continue with their suicidal thoughts.

Help them consider a way out of it by giving them a number for a hotline or a crisis line, as well as the option to call an emergency. Reach out to someone yourself who can help calm your nerves and may know what strategies might be helpful in this situation if it ever happens again.


1. Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt from the person's reach, including guns, knives, razors, medications, and other potentially lethal items.

2. Calmly tell them they don't want to do it for any given reasons you can think of--because life is worth living no matter how difficult or painful various aspects may be at times because there are people who care about them and will miss them if they die by suicide.

3. Refuse to leave until someone else arrives who can talk with the person further and assess their mental state.

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