Never agree to keep thoughts of suicide a secret. Sometimes instinct tells us we have to break confidentiality. It’s better to have someone alive and mad at you than dead by suicide and you feeling that you missed an opportunity to help them keep safe. We recommend treating this subject and the people involved with respect, dignity and compassion and don’t keep it to yourself. Know who you can connect with as this work cannot be done alone. You may, as a helper, experience thoughts and feelings that are uncomfortable. It’s OK to reach out.
Talking about suicide can provide tremendous relief and being a listener is the best intervention anyone can give. Talking about suicide will not cause suicide. When experiencing intense emotions, the person will not be able to problem solve. It is not your job to fix their problems. Listen, care, validate and be nonjudgmental.
Questions to Consider when you’re concerned:
(The responses to the following questions will enable you to reflect back your concern to the person and/or communicate to a trained professional.)
For the helper:
Are you noticing or have you noticed any dramatic mood changes?
Changes in work behavior or school attendance/marks dropping?
Does the person seem to be out of touch with reality?
What are Warning Signs?
Suicide prevention depends heavily on our ability to recognize people who are in distress and may be at risk. The American Association of Suicidology developed a simple tool that we can all use to remember the warning signs of suicide. This tool is called “IS PATH WARM” and outlines the key points to remember.
How to be Helpful When Someone is Suicidal
Source: International Association of Suicide Prevention