Explain your concern
Tell your loved one which signs you've noticed that have made you concerned.
"I've noticed that you've been withdrawing from your friends recently. I care about you a lot, and I'm really concerned about you."
Ask about thoughts of suicide
Use direct terms when you ask about suicide.
Speaking about suicide in direct terms communicates to the person you are concerned about that you are a safe person to speak to about this.
Asking if your loved one is thinking about suicide will not plant the idea in their mind.
- "Are you having thoughts of suicide?"
"Are you planning to end your life?"
If they are having suicidal thoughts, ask if they've thought about a plan for suicide.
“Have you thought about how you would take your life?”
Assess frequency, intensity
Ask how frequently they are having these thoughts, how intense the thoughts are.
“How often do you think about suicide? How strong are these thoughts?”
Assess Intent, Timeline
Ask them if they intend to act on this plan and what the timing of the plan is?
“Are you planning to act on these thoughts? When?”
Assess Access to Means to Carry Out Plan
Assess whether the plan is one they can carry out. Do they have access to firearms? Pills? Sharp objects?
“Do you have a firearm? Do you have pills in the house?”
If you believe your loved one is in imminent danger of suicide, call 911, or accompany them to the nearest Emergency Room.
Whenever possible, do not leave them alone. If you are on the phone, stay on the phone until help arrives. If you are in person, stay with them until help arrives or accompany them to the nearest Emergency Room.