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Helping others: What to do and steps to take

No one should have to deal with suicidal thoughts or other self-destructive feelings alone.

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If you want to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, you need to be willing to listen to the person’s thoughts, fears and feelings.

These conversations are not the time to debate whether suicide is wrong or whether self-destructive thoughts are justified.

Along these same lines, don’t dare a suicidal person to carry out the act because you think they are joking or promise to keep such feelings a secret. Instead, offer hope and talk about alternatives and resources available to help.

Resources available for helping others

  • Treatment options
  • Therapists
  • Counselors
  • Support groups

Don’t be afraid to take action that can help. If you live with a suicidal person remove firearms, excess medication, rope and other items that could carry out an attempt from this person’s living space. Once that person seeks help and is making a plan for how to deal with future self-destructive thoughts, become a willing contact who they can reach out to if and when they are struggling.

According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, if someone discloses to you they are considering suicide in the immediate future, you should be prepared to:

  • Take the person seriously
  • Stay with them
  • Help remove weapons or other means that could be used in an attempt
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
  • Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free 24/7
  • Be willing to escort them to mental health services or an emergency room

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