If you are worried that they are suicidal again
If you are worried a person may be suicidal or at risk of harming themselves again, the following steps can be used to guide your response.
Assess the situation
Ask yourself what is making you worry. For example,
– Has their behaviour changed? Are they sleeping a lot more or a lot less? Do they have too much or too little energy? Do they seem sad? Do they have a short temper or cry more than usual?
– Has their thinking changed? Are they negative all the time or are they overly positive? Do they seem to have muddled or fuzzy thoughts? Are they unable to concentrate?
– Have their relationships changed? Have they withdrawn from family and friends?
Talk with a trusted friend or counsellor
Explain why you are worried and ask their opinion.
Have an open and frank discussion with the person
Find a time as soon as possible when you can sit down and talk without distractions.
Discuss any signs you have seen that have worried you
Talk to them about the things you have noticed and find out if they have also noticed any signs that indicate things are not going well for them at the moment (such as changes in mood, insomnia, withdrawal, agitation, etc.).
Discuss their state of mind
If you are worried that they are suicidal, ask the person calmly and directly if they have been thinking about suicide.
Ask them to be honest. Some possible ways to say this include:
“I’ve noticed… (state specific observations) and am worried about how you are and wondering if you have been thinking about suicide?” or perhaps “How have you been feeling lately? You seem to be really withdrawn and I’m worried that things are so bad that you are thinking about killing yourself.”
If they tell you that they want to kill themselves or are thinking of suicide, let them know it is OK to have suicidal thoughts and that they are not alone in having them. Recognise that thoughts about ending their life are signs of the suffering and despair they are feeling. Ask them to tell you more.
Go back to their safety plan and decide together what action to take
If you remain unsure what to do, stay with the person while you contact a telephone crisis support service or relevant local service to seek their advice.