Helping Others

The Do’s

  • DO trust your intuition.
  • DO ask directly if your friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. Asking will not put the idea into their head. (Note: If you are not comfortable asking this question, find someone who can)
  • DO call 911 if you are concerned for an individual's immediate safety or if an individual needs immediate attention.
  • DO reduce access to available means such as firearms and pills (View recommendations on safe storage
  • Do remain supportive and non-judgmental.
  • DO take you time and be patient when responding to someone at risk.
  • DO listen carefully to better understand the individual's concerns.
  • DO take concerns seriously.
  • DO offer hope, reasons to be hopeful, alternatives to the situation, resource information and information on how helpful treatment can be.
  • DO urge the individuals to accept professional support. Consider making a phone call to a mental health resource to connect the individual to appropriate services.
  • DO access resources by campus
    Ashtabula | College of Podiatric Medicine | East Liverpool | Geauga | Kent | Twinsburg Academic Center  | Salem | Stark | Trumbull | Tuscarawas

The Don’ts

  • DON'T ignore the warning signs.
  • DON'T leave someone alone if there is a risk of self-harm.
  • DON'T minimize the situation.
  • DON'T make the problem your own.
  • DON'T argue or try to change the individual's emotions.
  • DON’T promise secrecy.
  • DON’T try to manage the situation all on your own—consult and get others involved.

Tips for Asking about Suicide

Please know that you cannot put the idea of suicide into someone’s mind—they are either thinking about suicide or they are not. Asking the individual directly about suicide can actually lower distress, and offering hope through listening can help ease emotional pain.

Here are some examples of how you can ask a friend or loved one if they are thinking about suicide:

  • “When people are as upset as you seem to be, they sometimes wish they were dead. I’m wondering if you’re feeling that way too?”
  • “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
  • “Do you have a plan to take your own life?”

If a friend or loved one is expressing a plan for suicide, connect them with immediate help.