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Suicide is preventable.  If you think someone you know might be considering taking their own life, remember, it’s OK to ask.  In fact, it is the most responsible action you can take. 

Phrases such as those below can open up conversation.

     “Are you OK?”

     “You seem really down today.”

     “Tell me what’s going on.”

     “Tell me how you are feeling right now.”

However, you must also ask directly “Are you having thoughts about killing yourself?”  If that is too uncomfortable for you, find someone who can ask. 

It is always better to ask directly than not to do so.  Studies show that asking at-risk people if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.  Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.

 

Suicide Warning Signs

What You Should Do

  • Listen and express concern in a non-judgmental way.
  • Take action—get them connected with professional help.
  • Ask questions openly (e.g. “Do you have a plan?” “Will you talk with someone who can help?)
  • Show that you care.
  • Take suicide threats seriously.

 

What You Should Not Do

  • Do NOT keep a secret.
  • Do NOT sidestep the issue or treat it lightly.
  • Do NOT leave the person alone.
  • Do NOT offer simple solutions.
  • Do NOT judge.
  • Do NOT offer or suggest drugs or alcohol.
  • Do NOT try to be a therapist—get professional help.

 

 

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain

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