Suicide Prevention & Awareness: What To Do If You Are The Parent or Friend of Someone Who is Talking About Suicide
By Leslie Faulkner, LPCA
So far in this series, we have discussed the risk factors and warning signs of someone who is thinking about suicide. What if someone you love starts talking to you about their suicidal thoughts? This can feel like an overwhelming responsibility, but there are ways to intervene. The chances are that if someone is confiding in you with such powerful thoughts, they trust you. It is important to remain non-judgmental. Someone who is suicidal may feel that death is their only escape, and their judgment at this time is clouded by these intense thoughts and feelings. Be willing to listen, validate how they are feeling, and allow them to express exactly how they are feeling at that moment. Show your support and interest in what they are going through and try your best to remain direct and matter of fact. You are the strong support system in their lives and remaining calm will comfort them.
Another vital plan-of-action for you is to remove any means of suicide, such as weapons, pills, sharp objects, etc. If your loved one has talked to you about their plan for suicide, take them seriously and remove anything that could assist them in their thoughts. Contact a Lifeline Center (1-800-8255) or local hospital for available resources in your area.
A great resource for communicating with someone who may be suicidal is to use the 5 Action Steps (Ask, Keep Them Safe, Be There, Help Them Connect, Follow up). You can access the 5 Steps at:
One more important thing to remember during this time is to take care of yourself. It is an emotional time when someone you love and care about admits that they are thinking about suicide. Remember to check in with your own thoughts and feelings. Reach out for help and support for yourself, if needed.
About the Author: Leslie Faulkner is a Licensed Professional Counseling Associate (LPCA) at Emerald Therapy Center. She received her Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Development from Lindsay Wilson College. She is currently Director of Children’s Services. She works primarily with children and adolescents.