Someone needs help right now

On behalf of your friend or family member, thank you.  It’s great to have someone who cares enough to look for help.

If this is an emergency, find out their location in as much detail as possible and call 9-1-1 (in the U.S.; here’s a list for other countries). Know what to expect to make the call go as smoothly as possible.

It’s okay to be scared – it’s normal.  Even after almost two decades in suicide prevention, it is still scary.  However, it is possible for you to make a huge difference in getting them through this crisis, and on through the recovery process.

Please take them seriously, because it is better to be overly cautious when talking about suicide.  They are probably experiencing severe emotional pain.  Respond with compassion and patience.  Many times, just listening is incredibly helpful.

(Strongly) encourage them to contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-TALK (8255), available 24/7 for anyone in crisis (in the U.S.;here’s a list for other countries).  You can call for assistance as well.

How do you know if it is an immediate crisis?

It may be an immediate crisis if they are:

  • saying things like:
    • I want to kill myself.
    • I’m feeling suicidal.
    • You won’t have to worry about me anymore.
    • I’m so depressed I just can’t go on.
    • Voices are telling me to do bad things.
    • Signing off for the very last time.
  • looking for ways to die, such as:
    • trying to get a gun
    • gathering pills
  • talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide – if that’s not what they usually do

Adapted from the American Association of Suicidology.

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