Top 6 Ways You Can Help Prevent Suicide

It’s hard to talk about mental health – especially suicide. Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center therapists have a few tips for helping someone who may be considering suicide or is in a mental health crisis leading them toward hurting themselves.

  1. Be Proactive. Having a conversation with someone about their mental health may be uncomfortable. However, it can make a huge difference. Instead of waiting for someone you see struggling to ask for help (which they may never do), ask them some questions and start the conversation.
  2. Exhibit genuine interest and ask questions. Questions might include:
    • “It seems like you’re not yourself Do you want to talk about what’s wrong?”
    • “I’ve noticed you’re a little Can we talk about how you’re feeling?”
    • “You look like something is bothering What’s on your mind?”
  3. Encourage them to keep talking and offer support. As the conversation begins, really listen to your friend or family member. Hear what they have to say. Express concern about their worries and empathize with them. Offer support. Statements could be:
    • “I can imagine how tough this must be for ”
    • “I’m glad you’re telling me what’s happening and how you Thank you for sharing.”
    • “I’m right here with Nothing changes how I feel about you.”
    • “This situation sounds difficult. How can I help you get through this?”
  4. Be direct with questions about suicide. Trust your instincts if you feel someone is considering harming themselves or committing suicide. Research indicates that saying “suicide” will NOT push someone to act or put the idea in their head. Do NOT pass judgment. Examples are:
    • “Are you thinking of doing something to end your life?”
    • “Does it sometimes get so tough you think of killing yourself?”
    • “Do you have plans to kill yourself?”
  5. Don’t assume they’re talking to others. You might be the only person your friend or family member has confided in. Take their words seriously and never discount their concerns. Help them create a safety plan. Assist them in compiling a list of people they can talk to for help.
  6. Be patient. It’s hard for someone to talk to you about their problems. Many people experience shame, anxiety, and despair as they share their suicidal thoughts with others. You may not know what to say when they share their thoughts. Sometimes, it’s enough to sit and be with someone experiencing a mental health crisis. Help them remove lethal means. Encourage them to seek help. Assist them in finding resources.


988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is now an easy-to-remember 24/7 resource for reaching trained crisis counselors who can help with suicide, mental health, and substance use-related crises. (988 replaces a longer and harder-to-remember 10-digit phone number.) Much like calling 911 in an emergency, people in crisis or those having thoughts of suicide may call or text 988 for immediate assistance.


Vicki Wright

Senior Grant Writer

Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center and Ashley Clinic