Signs a person MAY be suicidal
- Gives valued things away
- Obsessed with death
- Verbal statements about wanting to die
- Dealing with a major recent crisis
- Unexplained anger, impulsivity, risk taking
- Substance use
- Recent attempt by family or friend
What NOT to do:
- Never tell a depressed or suicidal person to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’.
- Don’t ignore a depressed loved one.
- Don’t ask “You’re not serious, are you?” or “You’re not thinking of suicide are you?” or “You’re kidding, right?”
What to do:
- Be persistent about making sure the person is ok.
- Talk privately.
- Allow plenty of time.
- Ask them outright if they are suicidal – how you ask is less important than that you ask it. See the next suggestion about how to ask THE question.
- Get the person to a professional ASAP. NEVER wait. It is best to physically take them to a counselor or the emergency room as soon as they confirm they are suicidal.
- Never allow a suicidal person to be alone.
How to ask THE question:
- Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?
- When people are as upset as you seem to be, they sometimes wish they were dead. Do you feel that way, too?
- Are you thinking about killing yourself?
- You look miserable, are you thinking of committing suicide?
- If you are uncomfortable doing this, get the person to someone who is trained, such as a school counselor, a medical professional, or a counselor.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Use it if you or a loved one is or is suspected to be suicidal.