What to Say to Someone Who Is Suicidal

First and foremost, if you believe someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or suicide, call emergency services or seek professional help immediately. Your role is to support, not to treat or counsel, unless you are a trained professional. The following suggestions are meant to guide supportive conversations, not to replace professional interventions.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Suicidal

1. Listen Actively

It might sound simple, but the power of active listening cannot be underestimated. Many times, individuals feeling suicidal just want to be heard. They need to express their feelings and have someone truly listen.

  • “I’m here for you.”
  • “I’m listening. Tell me what you’re feeling.”

2. Express Concern Without Judgment

Make sure they know you care and are genuinely concerned about their well-being. Avoid sounding judgmental or dismissive.

  • “I’m really concerned about you.”
  • “It sounds like you’re going through a tough time. I’m here to support you.”

3. Ask Directly About Suicidal Thoughts

It’s a myth that asking someone about suicide will put the idea in their head. In fact, it can be a relief for them to talk about it.

  • “Are you having thoughts of ending your life?”
  • “Do you have a plan?”

4. Validate Their Feelings

Recognize their pain without necessarily agreeing with their conclusions about the situation.

  • “It sounds like you’re feeling really overwhelmed and hurt right now.”
  • “It’s okay to feel this way, but let’s find some help together.”

5. Avoid Offering Simplistic Solutions

Offering trite reassurances like “It’ll get better” or “Just think positive” can come off as dismissive. Instead, empathize and help them seek expert guidance.

  • “I can’t imagine exactly how you feel, but I want to help.”
  • “Let’s find someone who can help you navigate this.”

6. Offer to Help Connect Them to Resources

Whether it’s a mental health professional, a trusted person in their life, or a crisis hotline, help them find the support they need.

  • “Would you like me to help you find someone to talk to?”
  • “I think it might be helpful to speak with someone who can offer more support.”

7. Stay Calm

Even if you’re internally panicking, try to stay calm and collected. Your calmness can provide a sense of stability and security.

8. Refrain from Making Promises You Can’t Keep

It’s crucial not to promise confidentiality if someone’s life is at risk. Safety should be the top priority.

  • “I want to support you, but if I’m worried about your safety, I’ll need to involve someone who can help.”

9. Follow Up

After your conversation, and especially if they’ve sought help, check in with them periodically. Showing you remember and care can mean the world.

  • “Hey, I was thinking about you. How are you doing today?”

10. Educate Yourself

The more you know about mental health, the better equipped you’ll be to support someone. Consider taking a mental health first aid course or reading more about the subject.

In all situations, remember that every person and situation is unique. The best approach is one of genuine concern, empathy, and willingness to support. Always prioritize the safety of the individual, and when in doubt, seek professional assistance.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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