Dos and Don’ts
- Request to talk with your friend in private. This may help minimize embarrassment and defensiveness.
- Openly acknowledge that you are aware of their distress.
- Speak directly and honestly and acknowledge you are sincerely concerned about their welfare.
- Take your friend seriously - 80% of persons who die by suicide give warning of intent.
- Be available to listen, to talk, to be concerned, and refer to resources.
- Directly ask if your friend has been thinking about suicide. Asking this question WON'T increase their risk.
- Talk with someone else (e.g., a counselor) about your concerns.
- Listen carefully to why your friend is troubled and try to see the issue from their view without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing.
- Attempt to identify the problem and explore options to deal with the problem.
- Take care of yourself as the helper - get emotional support.
- In a crisis, consider options for restricting the person's access to lethal means.
- Don't ignore strange or inappropriate behavior.
- Don't minimize the situation or depth of feeling, e.g.,"Oh it will be much better tomorrow."
- Don't over commit yourself and not be able to deliver on what you promise.
- Don't promise confidentiality.
- Don't ignore your limitations, i.e., try to help beyond what you feel comfortable with.