When Someone in your Life is Suicidal

June 10, 2018

Source: Mayo Clinic

When someone in your life is experiencing and/or communicating suicidal thoughts, or suicidal ideation, and exhibiting behavior that is worrisome, it is natural to be afraid or upset. Taking action is always key; do not play it down or ignore the situation. Many people who kill themselves have expressed the intention at some point. While you’re not responsible for preventing someone from dying by suicide, your intervention may help the person see that other options are available to stay safe and get treatment. While this list is not exhaustive, here are some immediate actions you can take.

1. Start by asking questions

Be sensitive, but ask direct questions, such as:

* How are you coping with what's been happening in your life?

* Are you thinking about dying?

* Are you thinking about hurting yourself/someone else?

* Are you thinking about suicide?

* Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?

* Do you have a plan to complete suicide?

* Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?

Asking about suicidal thoughts or feelings won't push someone into doing something self-destructive. In fact, offering an opportunity to talk about feelings may reduce the risk of that person acting on suicidal ideation. We encourage you to seek out support for yourself, as well.

2. Encourage a safety plan

If the person in your life is open to talking about their thoughts, it is likely they will be open to creating a “safety plan.” Together, help them to create a list of 3-5 activities they can do that will help them feel less depressed; 3-5 people they feel comfortable texting in need; and 3-5 people they feel comfortable calling in need. Taking the time to create this list ensures that the person takes extra steps to keep themselves safe before trying to complete suicide. Be patient; for people with significant suicidal thinking, this can be a challenging task.

For immediate help Don't leave the person alone:

* Call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

* Try to find out if the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs

* Tell a colleague, friend or family member what's going on.

Don't try to handle the situation alone:

* Get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible.

* Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number (see above) and sit with/communicate with them while they call.

Suicide Prevention Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 800 273 TALK (8255)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. (Press 1 for Veterans Crisis Line.)

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio 1-888-628-9454

Options For Deaf + Hard of Hearing 1-800-799-4889 

The Columbia Suicide-Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) for Familes, Friends, and Neighbors

NYC Local Resources - 1 888 NYC-WELL

English: 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355), Press 2

Español: 1-888-692-9355, Press 3

中文: 1-888-692-9355, Press 4

Call 711 (Relay Service for Deaf/Hard of Hearing)

Crisis Services/Mental Health: Mobile Crisis Teams

A mobile crisis team is a group of health professionals, such as nurses, social workers and psychiatrists, who can provide mental health services, primarily in people's homes.There are about two dozen teams in the city, and they are available in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

Text NYC Well!

Text WELL to 65173

A service for NYC residents, available 24/7/365. Text anytime!

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