What can I do to Help?



• Talk
• Provide company
• Reduce the means of suicide by checking out the house
• Seek professional help (see inserts)

Guidelines for Helping

• Allow yourself to get caught up in the other person’s feelings of hopelessness, despair or depression.
• Try to reason the person out of it.
• Use guilt, or try to make the person feel guilty.
• Attempt to cheer the person up.
• Talk about your own or other people’s problems.
• Avoid or discount the consequences of their actions.
• Be judgmental or critical.
• Dare the person to suicide.
• Make promises.
• Give the message that it is not OK to show feelings.

• Remember “this person does not want to die”.
• BE THERE for the person. Listen to their words and emotions, and give feedback.
• ASK when you’re not sure or if something isn’t clear.
• STAY WITH THE PERSON until you can get other help or you are sure that he/she is safe.
• TELL SOMEONE ELSE. Refer the person to professional help.

Step 1. Establish Rapport

(eg. “I’m glad you called”)

Step 2. Identify and Clarify the Problem

(eg. a. How they are feeling right now)
(eg. b. What has led them to where they are at this point)
(eg. c. What are the circumstances that are frustrating them at this moment)

Do not challenge what they are saying.

Step 3. Evaluate the Suicidal Potential

It has to be noted that when we attempt to evaluate suicide potential, research suggests that it is very difficult to predict who might suicide.

a. Age and sex (pages x-x)
b. Ask about history of the suicidal behaviour
c. Evaluate the Suicidal Plan.
i. How are they intending to kill themselves.
ii. How available are the means.
iii. How specific is the plan.
iv. Timeline - have they set a future time for death
d. Stress (pages x-x)
e. Symptoms (eg. depression, agitation)
f. Resources and Protective Factors (eg. supportive family, friends and pets)
g. Lifestyle (eg. stability, relationships, alcohol/substance use, work situations)

Step 4. Formulate a Plan to Help the Person

(eg. If they have pills at hand, ask them to flush them down the toilet. Help them with this.)
(eg. If a gun is at hand ask them to unload it and give it to you or someone else.)

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Don't Forget

  • People rarely suicide in company

  • Taking away the means significantly reduces the risk of suicide

  • Thwarting impulsivity, by getting someone through a bad patch, significantly reduces the risk of suicide

  • Having a strong sense of hopelessness is a major risk for someone with suicidal thoughts. Having an idea of committing suicide for the benefit of others is an even greater risk factor.

The Impact of Good Parenting

  • Positive touching such as hugging or soothing touch given 5 times per day = little chance of suicide

  • Negative touching such as aggressive or inappropriate touch given 5 times per day = enhanced chance of suicide


Of those who attempted suicide
• 75% take less than hour to make the decision
• 25% thought for less than 5 minutes
• 24% thought for less than 10 minutes
• only 7% thought for more than 24 hours
• 93% of drunken attempts thought for less than 10 minutes
• 75% lost the urge to suicide in 24 hours

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"Please Listen"