1. Establish a relationship
“Can you tell me what’s been going on?”
“I’m really glad you called. I’d like to help. Let’s talk about it.”
2. Gather specific information
- Identify causes for suicidal feelings (i.e. sources of intolerable stress).
- Determine whether or not the person has a suicide plan.
“What happened today to make you feel like killing yourself?”
“How were you planning to kill yourself?”
“Are you alone?”
3. Express your feelings of concern
“That must make you feel ________.”
“You sound _________.
“I’m glad you decided to talk to me.”
“I don’t want you to harm yourself.”
4. Focus discussion
- Stay focused on the problem that suicide is designed to resolve.
- Separate and define specific problems to alleviate confusion and feelings of hopelessness.
“Has something like this ever happened before?
“Have you ever felt like this before?”
“Which problem(s) do you want to see resolved the most?”
5. Build hope, help the individual make plans
- Emphasize temporary nature of crisis.
- Use their ambivalence to your advantage.
- Discuss alternatives to suicide.
“What has helped you to cope in the past? What hasn’t?”
“Have you considered __________?”
“Of the ideas we’ve talked about, what seems best to you?”
6. Mobilize available resources
- Internal – their own strengths, previous coping methods.
- External – family, friends, professionals, clergy, etc.
7. Make a referral/connect with a therapist, etc. If there is an immediate risk, call 9-1-1