What to Say and What Not to Say

Provide Validation

What to say: "I hear you when you say you want to die, that you feel this will never get better."

What not to say: "Why would you want to throw your life away?"

Show Empathy

What to say: "I can imagine how terrible that feels."

What not to say: "I've been through hard times and I'd never think about hurting myself."

Offer Reassurance

What to say: "Was there ever a time you didn't feel this bad? I believe you will feel that way again."

What not to say: "You'll get over it." or "This is just a phase." or "You're being dramatic."

Provide Support

What to say: “I'm going to be here to help you. You are not alone.           

What not to say: "Why would you do this to our family?”