Six steps to stop a suicide

If you are feeling suicidal, call 112 123.

You are not alone.


Step 1 –  Identify the suicide risk

  • Ask the person directly if they want to take their own life
  • There is no need to avoid use of the word suicide. Asking will not place the idea in their head
  • Discuss their feelings. It may provide a sense of relief
  • Explain that the desire to take one’s own life can be associated with a treatable condition. This provides hope
  • Try to appear confident. This can create a reassuring effect


Step 2 – Assess the seriousness of the suicide risk

  • Establish if the person has definite plans or if this is a vague notion
  • Find out how they plan to take their own life – when / how
  • Find out if they have taken steps to carry out the plan
  • Establish if drugs or alcohol are involved – they will heighten emotions
  • Find out of previous suicide attempts have been made
  • Take the expression of ending life seriously.  Lack of planning is not enough to reassure


Step 3 – Provide initial assistance

  • Do not leave the person on their own
  • Accept your own role in this. You may not be able to help


Step 4 – Talk with the suicidal person

  • Tell the person that you care and want to help
  • Allow them to talk openly about their reasons
  • Remind them that ending their life does not have to be the only option
  • Remind them that thoughts of ending life is often a desperate plea for help to escape problems
  • Try to help the person work out how to deal with the problems that seem insurmountable
  • Find out what solutions have worked for them in the past and encourage this again
  • Listen and express empathy
  • Recommend distraction


Step 5 – Create a no suicide contract

  • Encourage the person to agree to not take their life until help has been sought
  • Establish who to contact if they feel out of options


Step 6 – Clarify confidentiality

  • Involve the person in the decision about who to share this information with
  • Do not agree to keep this a secret



Six steps to stop a suicide