How to help someone considering suicide

A person may be suicidal if he or she:

• Talks about committing suicide.

• Has trouble eating or sleeping.

• Experiences drastic changes in behavior.

• Withdraws from friends or social activities.

• Loses interest in hobbies, friends, school, work, etc.

• Prepares for death by making a will or final arrangements.

• Gives away prized possessions.

• Has attempted suicide before.

• Takes unnecessary risks.

• Has had a recent severe loss.

• Is preoccupied with death or dying.

• Loses interest in their personal appearance.

• Increases their use of alcohol and/or drugs.

How to help someone who is threatening suicide

• Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.

Be willing to listen. Allow the person to express feelings.

• Be nonjudgmental. Do not debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or if the person’s feelings are good or bad. Do not lecture the person about the value of life.

Do not encourage or dare the person to “do it.”

• Get involved, become available and show interest and support.

• Do not act shocked when listening to the person’s issues.

• Do not be sworn to secrecy; seek support and assistance.

• Offer hope that alternatives are available and help is available.

• Take action: remove means such as guns, or stockpiled pills, etc.

Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Source: McHenry County Crisis Program

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