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What to do when someone is at risk

If you think someone is thinking about suicide, assume you are the only one who will reach out. Here’s how to talk to someone who may be struggling with their mental health.

Have an honest conversation

  1. Talk to them in private
  2. Listen to their story
  3. Tell them you care about them
  4. Ask directly if they are thinking about suicide
  5. Encourage them to seek treatment or contact their doctor or therapist
  6. Avoid debating the value of life, minimizing their problems or giving advice

Assume you're the only one who will reach out

If You’re Concerned About Someone

Talk in Private

Listen to their story, and let them know you care. Ask directly about suicide, calmly and without judgement. Show understanding and take their concerns seriously. Let them know their life matters to you. That one conversation could save a life.

If a Person Says They Are Thinking About Suicide

Take the Person Seriously

Someone considering suicide is experiencing a life-threatening health crisis and may not believe they can be helped. Work with them to keep them safely away from lethal means like firearms and drugs and remind them that their suffering is temporary.

Stay with them and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Be sure to follow up with them after the crisis to see how they’re doing.

If You’re Struggling

Don’t Wait for Someone to Reach Out

Seek mental health treatment, or tell your clinician about your suicidal thinking.

Treat yourself like you would treat someone else who needs your help.

If a person says they are considering suicide

Additional resources

    What parents should know about suicide

    Father and daughter sitting on sofa looking at electronic tablet

    As a parent, you can approach suicide prevention as you do other safety or health issues for your children. By educating yourself, you'll learn what puts kids at risk for suicide and what protects them.

    Learn more

    How to Start (and Continue!) a Conversation About Mental Health: A #RealConvo Guide from AFSP

    I care about you

    Quick pointers you can use for having a #RealConvo with the people in your life.

    Learn more

    If Someone Tells You They’re Thinking About Suicide: A #RealConvo Guide from AFSP

    I'm right here with you

    How should you respond? What can you do to connect them to help?

    Learn more

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