Volume 39 Issue 9: Helping Someone Who Is Suicidal

Suicide can often take friends and family by surprise. However, in many cases, people give clues that they are thinking of taking their own life. If you are aware of these red flags, you could help the person seek help early and prevent the individual from going into crisis.


Warning Signs of Suicide


If you hear someone talk of ending his or her life or causing harm to himself or herself, or if you see the person give away prized possessions, the individual may be crying out for help. These, along with the following behaviors, can be warning signs that a person is contemplating suicide and should be taken very seriously. Act immediately and get this person help if you see him or her:

  • Hopeless and negative about the future

  • Seeking out lethal means

  • Preoccupied with death

  • Feeling worthless

  • Saying goodbye (through social media, text message, phone call etc.)

  • Acting out

  • Isolating himself or herself from friends and family

  • Calm, with a sudden a sense of peace


Risk Factors of Suicide


There are risk factors that may increase a person’s likelihood of committing suicide. As mentioned above, being depressed or having been recently depressed puts the person at risk. These are additional risk factors for suicide:

  • Alcoholism or drug use

  • History of physical or sexual abuse

  • Mental illness

  • Recent death of a loved one

  • End of a relationship

  • A previous suicide attempt

  • Family history of suicide

  • Terminal illness or chronic pain


What to Do if Someone You Know Is Suicidal


Take warning signs and risk factors seriously: If you see a friend or family member exhibit them, share your concerns with someone who can help. Ask direct questions of the person you suspect may be suicidal:

  • Do you feel there’s no other way out?

  • Do you plan to commit suicide?

  • If so, how and when would you do it?

If the person indicates that he or she is suicidal, stay calm. Don’t try to talk the person out of it, but do try to make a deal: Have the person agree that he or she will not try anything until talking to you or another trusted person first. From there, seek help of a family member, counselor, teacher, or suicide prevention hotline immediately. Try to have someone stay with the suicidal person until an intervention from a professional happens. Show compassion, care, and understanding, even if it is difficult to do so.


If You Feel Suicidal.

If you are contemplating suicide, talk to a family member, trusted friend, doctor, or local suicide hotline right away.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline –24-hour suicide prevention assistance.


National Hopeline Network –24-hour suicide crisis support.


Written by Life Advantages - Author Delvina Miremadi ©2019


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