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
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.