Helping Someone in a Suicidal Crisis
Do Not Be Afraid To Ask: “Do you sometimes feel so bad you think of suicide?”
Suicidal individuals often give cues about how they are feeling. Often these hints of suicide are met with silence from family and friends. In many cultures there are taboos against talking about suicide and this makes it difficult to raise the topic and talk about it. However, it is important to not shy away from the topic of suicide. If you are concerned that someone is suicidal, it is important to ask the question. You could save a life.
There is no danger of “giving someone the idea” by asking if a person is feeling suicidal. In fact, it can be a great relief if you bring the questions of suicide into the open, and discuss it freely without showing shock or disapproval. Raising the question of suicide shows that you are taking the person seriously and responding to their distress.
If The Answer Is: “Yes. I do think of suicide,” take it seriously. Let the person know that you are concerned about them and talk with them about what’s going on in their life that is leading to their suicidal thoughts. Give the person hope and persuade them that there are options and resources that can help them move beyond whatever is causing their suicidal feelings. Then refer – accompany the person to a mental health professional that can assess their risk and address the underlying issues leading to their suicidality.
If the person has attempted suicide and needs medical attention or if a suicide attempt is imminent, call 911. Please do not feel that you alone must help the person, even if they pressure you to promise not to tell anyone. When a person is suicidal they need professional help. It is important for you to assist the person is accessing that help.
Call the UCC at 574-631-7336 and identify that you are feeling suicidal or that you are with a person who is suicidal and need immediate assistance.