What You Can Do

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call:

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (English)988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (Spanish)
Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Notice: The Office of Suicide Prevention website is informational and not intended as a crisis response or hotline. 

Know What You Can Do To Help Someone Who is Suicidal

  • Listen with sincere concern
  • Avoid giving unsolicited advice
  • Ask them if they've been going through something like this before - how did they cope with it?
  • Share a time when you felt similarly and assure your friend that things can and will change
  • Ask if she/he is feeling suicidal
  • Let your friend know that many people will think about suicide but never attempt it
  • Stay with him/her - do something together
  • If you have immediate concern for your friend's life, call law enforcement for emergency intervention 
  • Give your friend the number for the suicide prevention hotline and make sure they call

To Help Prevent a Suicide

Know the warning signs of suicide.

  • Previous suicide attempts - Between 2-50% of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. 
  • Talking about death or suicide - Be alert to statements such as "my family would be better off without me." Sometimes those contemplating suicide talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away. 
  • Planning for suicide - Suicidal individuals often arrange to put their affairs in order. 
  • Depression - Most suicidal people are depressed. Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness but often is expressed as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal of activities that have been enjoyable. 

Take the warning signs seriously.

  • About 75% of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.

Be willing to listen.

  • Take the initiative to ask what is the matter...and keep talking. Don't be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, or even if they have a particular plan or method in mind.

Be actively involved in seeking professional help.

  • Encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.

In a crisis, get the person help immediately.

  • Take the person to an emergency room or walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital. Do not leave a suicidal person alone until help is available.

Continue to be involved.

  • Support the person in sticking with treatment. Help them get to therapy or support groups. Make sure they take any prescribed medication and notify the physician about any unexpected side effects.


This information does not represent a therapeutic recommendation or prescription. For specific information and advice, consult your physician.


Adapted from information on the Web site of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.