It can be very challenging for someone you care about to be struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings. But there are some simple things you can do to help support them.
If someone you care about is feeling suicidal it is natural to feel upset, worried, confused, upset or angry. But what is usually most helpful to your loved one is for you to try to stay as calm as you can so that you can be there for them.
Many people worry that asking about or talking about suicide will make things worse or make it more likely that someone will act on these thoughts. This is not the case; and often being able to speak about their suicidal thoughts or feelings can make the person feel more supported and less hopeless.
The most valuable thing you can do to support someone who is feeling suicidal is listen to them. There can often be a strong urge to come up with solutions or jump into action, but just listening, being with them, and letting them know you care can be among the most helpful things you can do.
It is important to respect that each of us are experts in our own experience - we usually know best what we will find helpful and what we won’t. Try to come up with some ideas together about what to do next; both in the short term to keep them safe right now, and in the longer term to access the help and support they might need. You can use the Safety Plan template below to help with this conversation.
If the person is worried that they might not be able to keep themselves safe, try to make the space around them safer by removing things they might use to hurt themselves. If possible, identify someone who can stay with them while they are feeling risky.