There's no easy way to ask - "are you thinking about suicide?"
But if you're worried about someone, it's OK TO ASK them.
Here's how you can prepare for the conversation:
- Print out our quick list of support services or save them to your phone,
- Practise what you will say,
- Tell them why you are concerned, and what has prompted you to ask the question. You can find some of the signs of suicide here. Be honest about your reasoning, so they know your concerns are genuine, “I’ve noticed you’ve been quite withdrawn recently”
- ASK the question directly, “Sometimes people who feel the way you are feeling are thinking about suicide. Are you thinking about suicide? It’s OK to tell me.”
Here's how you can prepare for a 'yes' answer:
- ASK them what their reasons are for both living and dying and listen to their answer, “I can imagine how hard this is for you - it’s OK, I understand that you’re not sure if you want to live or die.”
- Acknowledge that the person is considering both options but reiterate that living is an option for them, “Maybe there is a chance you won’t feel this way forever? It’s OK to ask for help.”
- Let them know you are taking their situation seriously and that you genuinely care, “I’m really worried about you; I want you to know that I’m here for you, I will get you the help you need to get through this.”
Worried about what ‘NOT’ to say – click here.
Make a safety plan with the person, until help arrives or help can be arranged.
IMPORTANT: If someone's life is in danger - for example they have seriously harmed themselves or taken a drug overdose - call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E (the closest to St Helens is Whiston Hospital)