Support Others

If you are concerned that a friend or loved one might be considering suicide, you can help.

Ask Directly: “Are you thinking about suicide?”

  • Tell the person thinking about suicide that you are open to speaking about the topic.
  • You may be the first person who has signaled it is okay. 
  • The question opens the door to an honest and non-judgmental dialogue which can
  • relieve some of the pain the person is experiencing. 
  • Asking does not increase the person’s risk—you will not be giving them a new idea. 
  • Asking opens the door for the next step which is to LISTEN. Take the person seriously.
  • Let them tell about the reasons for their emotional pain.

Keep Them Safe: establish immediate safety

  • Have they already done something to try to kill themselves?
  • Do they know how they would kill themselves?
  • How prepared are they to complete their plan?
  • How soon were they thinking of carrying out their plan?
  • Do they have access to firearms?
  • Put TIME and DISTANCE between the person and their chosen method.

Be There: Show your support

  • Check-in: in-person or by phone
  • Do what you said you would do for the person, but do not make promises
  • you cannot or are not willing to keep
  • Listen, don’t lecture
  • Use phrases like, “I’m so happy you’re sharing this with me.”

Help them Connect: 1-800-273-8255

  • On-going support is essential
  • Lifeline, community mental health providers, United Way 211 for resources
  • Download the My3 App for safety planning

Follow Up: See how they’re doing in the days/weeks/months following

  • Phone, text, email—it doesn’t matter how! It just matters the person knows you still care
  • Great way to see if they have connected to the resources you already talked about

Download a foldable resource card