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Helping others: Suicide intervention

Research-based interventions with friends and family members can be especially helpful for those struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

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Along with research-based interventions there are solutions that involve professional treatment avenues known as evidence-based interventions.

Two main research-based interventions

  • Safety planning
  • Removing of lethal means

Safety planning focuses on improving a person’s environment and social support network. Suicide intervention safety planning gives coping skills for the future and builds up a list of emergency contacts to reach out to when suicidal thoughts or behaviors occur.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one organization where people can find a safety plan template. This document asks people to come up with both internal and external coping strategies when suicidal thoughts start. After completion, people – as well as their friends and family – will have listed both personal and professional contacts who they can reach out to in times of crisis, as well as two things they can do immediately to improve their environment. Be ready to help develop and then carry out this plan when needed.

Removing lethal means removes or minimizes items that could be used to carry out a suicide from a person’s environment. This includes firearms, other weapons, medication, rope, and chemicals. In some cases, removing lethal means as a research-based suicide intervention includes removing areas where someone could hang themselves.

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