Some topics are just naturally uncomfortable to talk about. Suicide is one of those topics. These few simple steps will walk you through how to talk to someone who you suspect of thinking about suicide.
- Ask them. If you even suspect that someone you know is suicidal, ask them. Literally say to them, “Are you thinking about hurting yourself or killing yourself?” If they are feeling suicidal, they will most likely open up. If they aren’t, they will just look at you like you are crazy. Better to be safe than sorry, so just ask! You will NOT be planting an idea in their head. It doesn’t work that way. Someone is either suicidal or they aren’t.
- If they say they have thought about it, dig a little deeper to see how far they are down the path to suicide. Ask them if they are thinking about it now or in the past. Ask them if they have a plan. If they do have a plan, ask them if they have the means. If someone says they are thinking of overdosing on sleeping pills and they have access to sleeping pills, they are at a very high risk.
- If someone is at high risk, get them help. This might mean driving them to the emergency room, calling the police so that they can intervene, or getting others to support them to help keep them safe.
- Then support, support, support. Get the person professional help and don’t keep their suicidal thoughts a secret. No matter how mad they get at you, you need to involve other people. You cannot do this alone and neither can they.
- When in doubt, call 911 or 1-800-273-TALK. That’s 1-800 273-8255. That will get you to the suicide prevention hotline.