Step 1: How to ASK the question
Asking can save a life. Asking about suicide does not put the thought of ending their life in someoneís head but gives them relief that someone is hearing them and will LISTEN.
Examples of Asking Indirectly
Sometimes when people are sad as you are, they think about suicide. Have you thought about it?
Do you ever want to go to bed and never wake up?
Examples of Asking Directly
Are you thinking about ending your life?
Have you thought about suicide?
Do you want to kill yourself?
Step 2: Seek More Information and Stay Calm
Find out if they are at immediate high risk of suicide (have a plan or rehearsing it in their mind) and/or (have a gun, access to pills or other means) and take immediate steps to limit access to means. Get help.
If thereís no immediate risk, ask who and where they normally go to for help and encourage them to contact them (family, friends, pastor, neighbor, roommate, girl/boy friend).
Ask if they have a regular doctor, mental health provider or counselor and suggest making an appointment.
Stay calm. Your non-verbal reactions and calm tone of voice can reduce stress and reassure the person.
Step 3: Self Care
Donít promise confidentiality. Get others involved. You need back up support and so do they.
Itís not your job to fix it Ė just get them to someone who can help.