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What should I do if I think someone is suicidal?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

If you think someone is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Eliminate access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including unsupervised access to medications.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Mental Health.

What to do if someone you know is suicidal:
  • Trust your instincts that the individual is in danger and may attempt suicide.
  • Talk with that person and obtain appropriate mental health intervention for him or her.
  • Ask the person about his or her plan. If the person is able to explain the suicide plan in great detail, he or she is at greater risk.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Get professional help even if the person does not express any desire for it.
  • Never leave a suicidal person alone.
  • Never swear that you will keep secret the person's plan for suicide.
  • Do not judge the person.
  • Do not attempt to counsel the person.

Use the following resource:

National Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (I-800-784-2433)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.