KNOW

Knowing how to care for yourself and help someone else through a suicidal crisis is an important part of preventing suicide. 

I am struggling with thoughts of suicide. What can I do?

5. Read others' stories of hope and recovery

Sometimes reading how others have gotten through a difficult time can help you navigate your own tough situation. Here are some stories you can start with (in English). 

6. Practice safe coping techniques to manage suicidal thoughts

Try to reconnect with an activity you enjoy, journal to get your thoughts and feelings out, visit with a friend, cuddle with a beloved pet, or go for a walk in nature.

7. Make a safety plan

A safety plan is a self-guided plan that can help you through a suicidal crisis. 

Reaching out for help is the most important action you can take if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There is hope and help is available. Here are a couple of actions you can take to find relief now: ​

1. Create a safe environment

Remove any harmful objects from your home that you could use to hurt yourself or stay with a close friend or family member so you do not have to be alone. 

2. Talk to someone about your suicidal thoughts

This can be a close family member, a friend, a teacher, or clergy. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, but you will want to tell someone you trust who can listen with compassion and without judgment. If the person you chose is unhelpful, try someone else. Avoid keeping your suicidal thoughts a secret.

3. Talk to a trained crisis counselor

Trained crisis workers and volunteers are there to support individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. Locate a crisis center in your country and store it in your phone to have on hand. 

USA Crisis Resources

  • National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

  • Crisis Text Line: Text “SAVE” to 741-741

  • To find state and local resources in the USA, use the SPRC's map locator

International Resources

4. Schedule an appointment with a professional therapist

A professional therapist can help you make sense of your thoughts and provide you guidance on how to cope during times of difficulty. Try e-counseling if that sounds more appealing.

Someone I know may be thinking about suicide. What can I do?  

SAVE has created a simple process to help you if someone you know may be thinking about suicide. The four steps below are meant to be used as guidance. We recognize that each situation is unique and may require different steps. When in doubt, contact a crisis hotline for assistance and additional help. 

ASK

ASK

LISTEN

LISTEN

RESPOND

FOLLOW

UP

RESPOND

FOLLOW

UP

Be Direct and use specific words like “suicide,” “kill yourself,” “take your life”

  • “Have you had thoughts of suicide?”

  • “Do you ever feel so bad that you think about suicide?”

  • “Do you have a plan to kill yourself or take your life?”

  • “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?”

  • “Have you thought about what method you would use?”

Phrases to help jump start the conversation:

  • “You haven’t seemed like yourself lately. Is there something going on?”

  • “I know you, and something is going on. Let’s talk about it.”

  • “Your stress level is off the charts. What’s going on? I want to help.”

  • “I’m worried about you. Are you ok?”

2. LISTEN without judgement. Let the person talk without interruption and make them feel heard.

What to listen for:

  • Specific reasons to live

  • Hope for the future/treatment

  • Therapy compliance and alliance

  • Specific reasons against death (religion, values)

  • Ambivalence

  • Connections to faith (community)

  • Support systems

  • Future orientation (school, jobs, children)

  • Minimizing their problems or shaming a person into changing their mind

  • Sharing your opinion

  • Trying to convince the person that it’s not that bad

  • Convincing a person they have everything to live for (this may increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness)

  • Arguing or challenging the person

  • Preaching or prophesying

  • Making promises (like keeping suicide a secret)

AVOID

If they say they are NOT suicidal:

Reassure the person that you are not there to judge them or do anything that makes them uncomfortable. You only want to understand their thoughts and feelings so together you can make the best choice for their health. Remind them that if they ever have suicidal thoughts that you are there to listen and ready and prepared to help.  

3. RESPOND with kindness and care. Always take the person seriously.

What to do:

  • Stay Calm

  • Stay with the person

  • Remove sharp objects or lethal means

  • Acknowledge that they are in pain and that their pain is REAL

  • Convey care

  • Go with the person to the ER or mental health clinic

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255

CALL 911 in the event of a medical emergency (someone has caused bodily harm to themselves or is threatening to hurt themselves or others.)

Phrases that may be helpful:

  • ”You are not alone. I’m here for you. "

  • "I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”

  • “We will get through this together.”

4. FOLLOW-UP with the person and support their transition from crisis to recovery. 

Some challenges people may face after a suicide crisis: 

  • People often experience increased loneliness or despair

  • They may not have been given appropriate referrals for continuation of care or have access to professional care.

  • They may not want to continue care (you can help encourage them to make their follow-up appointments)

What you can do to help:

  • Try to follow up within the first 24-48 hours after the crisis 

  • If you can, go to them. Meet at their home or where it’s comfortable to them.

  • Call them on the phone. A phone call is more personal than a text.

  • Send a short text or email to check-in.

1. ASK if the person is thinking about suicide.

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