Suicide Prevention



To help keep yourself from feeling suicidal:

  • Get the treatment you need.If you don't treat the underlying cause, your suicidal thoughts are likely to return. Getting the right treatment for depression, substance misuse or another underlying problem will make you feel better about life — and help keep you safe.
  • Establish your support network.Reach out anyway, and make sure the people who care about you know what's going on and are there when you need them. You may also want to get help from your place of worship, support groups or other community resources.
  • Remember, suicidal feelings are temporary.Remember that treatment can help you regain your perspective — and life will get better. Take one step at a time and don't act impulsively.


Helping a friend deal with suicidality

Talk openly and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, such as “Are you thinking about suicide?”

During the conversation, make sure you:

  • stay calm and speak in a reassuring tone
  • acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate
  • offer support and encouragement
  • tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment

Make sure not to minimize their problems or attempts at shaming them into changing their mind. Listening and showing your support is the best way to help them. You can also encourage them to seek help from a professional.

  1. ASK:“Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  2. KEEP THEM SAFE:Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. Removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  3. BE THERE:Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
  4. HELP THEM CONNECT:You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  5. STAY CONNECTED:Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference


Treatments and Therapies

Brief Interventions

Safety Planning: Patients work with a caregiver to develop a plan that describes ways to limit access to lethal means such as firearms, pills, or poisons.

Follow-up phone calls: when at-risk patients receive further screening, a Safety Plan intervention, and a series of supportive phone calls, their risk of suicide goes down.


Multiple types of psychosocial interventions have been found to help individuals who have attempted suicide. These types of interventions may prevent someone from making another attempt.

e.g. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help people learn new ways of dealing with stressful experiences through training. CBT helps individuals recognize their thought patterns and consider alternative actions when thoughts of suicide arise


Some individuals at risk for suicide might benefit from medication. Because many individuals at risk for suicide often have a mental illness and substance use problems, individuals might benefit from medication along with psychosocial intervention.

If you are prescribed a medication, be sure you:

  • Do Not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to "rebound" or worsening of symptoms. Other uncomfortable or potentially dangerous withdrawal effects also are possible.

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