When you’re ready to ask the question, it’s just as important to know what not to say.
Below are examples of what is NOT OK to ask, as they could have a negative effect on the person you are worried about:
“You’re not thinking about doing something stupid, are you?”
Asking a question with ‘You’re not…… are you?” indicates to the person that you want them to give you a NO answer - so you will not get an honest answer back. By calling the thought of suicide, ‘stupid’ it may leave them with no option but to hide their feelings from you, for fear that you think they are stupid.
“FINE, if you want to be selfish then go ahead and do it.”
This is the most dangerous thing you can say. Even though you may feel anger or frustration that the person wants to end their life, often people who are feeling suicidal feel like ending their life is the best option, not just for themselves but for everyone they know. This response will only confirm that thought.
Instead stay calm and use our suggestions about how to prepare for a yes response here.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Your secret is safe”
Even if the person has asked for your secrecy as a condition of telling you that they are feeling suicidal – never agree to keep their intentions a secret. Tell them you care far too much about them to keep a secret like this.
Don’t be afraid that they might be upset with you…. When a someone's life is at risk, it’s more important to ensure their safety.
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)