Accordion Section Title
How to Respond
  • Remain Calm
  • Ask the student directly if they are thinking about suicide
  • Listen attentively
  • Reassure them that there is help and they will not feel like this forever
  • Do not judge them or their thoughts.
  • Offer to stay with them. Do not leave the student alone.
  • Offer to go with them to get help or contact a crisis line.
  • Remove means for self-harm
  • Never keep what you’ve heard a secret
  • Seek help from your school’s personnel or community mental health resources as soon as possible
Accordion Section Title
What to Say

Talking with and finding help for a student that may be suicidal can be difficult. Here are some tips that may help.

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare him or her to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, like weapons or pills.
  • Connect the student to the right school personnel who can continue to help the student and connect the student to the right resources.
  • Get help from people or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.