How to Help a Suicidal Person
If you are in crisis, dial 2-1-1 from anywhere in Connecticut.
2-1-1 is certified by
the American Association of Suicidology.
If you live outside of Connecticut use the National Hopeline number which is
- Take the threat seriously.
- Be direct: ask the person if s/he is contemplating suicide.
- Let the person know that you care and want to help but be realistic about how you can help.
- Explain that you must contact a trusted (i.e. teacher, coach, minister, counselor, social worker, relative, neighbor); if the person protests, remind her/him that s/he trusted you enough to share her/his feelings, now s/he must trust you enough to know what to do. Reinforce you are glad they came to you; that you do care.
- Be willing to listen.
- Be non-judgmental.
- Stay focused on the problem that suicide is designed to resolve. Offer hope that it can be managed by other means.
- Stress that suicide is permanent and irreversible.
- Use his/her ambivalence to your own advantage.
- If there's an immediate risk, call 911.
- Don't offer simple solutions to serious problems. Don't tell him/her that everything will be O.K.
- Don't try to minimize his/her feelings or situation or try to tell him/her how to feel.
- Don't promise him/her you will keep the secret.
- Don't leave the person alone until you can arrange for support, either immediate or long-term.