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: 

  1. Complete the FREE Zero Suicide Alliance Training which teaches you the skills and confidence to have a potentially life-saving conversation with someone you're worried about
  2. Visit the 'Need help?' page for details of support services
  3. Practise what you will say
  4. Tell them why you are concerned, and what has prompted you to ask the question. Find out more information on some of the signs of suicide. Be honest about your reasoning, so they know your concerns are genuine, “I’ve noticed you’ve been quite withdrawn recently”
  5. 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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.”

Find out about what ‘NOT’ to say

How can I make sure someone is safe?

If someone tells you they want to act out suicide, it’s important that you make a safety plan with them.

Here are some actions you can take, to ensure they're safe:

  • - Remove any lethal means, such as items which can be used as weapons or prescription medications (never put yourself in any danger, you may need the police to help you with this).
  • - Get a list together of emergency contacts, friends and family the person can call on when they have suicidal thoughts.
  • - If the person doesn't have any emergency contacts, give them the Samaritans number: 116 123 – they are always available to listen, 24 hours a day.
  • - ASK the person to promise you not to have any alcohol or use drugs until they get professional help. Alcohol and drugs can increase feelings of depression. 
  • - “Promise me that you won’t act on any suicidal thoughts until you meet with a professional” – get a verbal commitment from them


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)