Suicide Threats: What to Do

Topic Overview

If the suicide threat seems real, with a specific plan and the means at hand, follow these steps:

  • Call 911, or the police if 911 is not available.
  • Consider your own safety. If you are in a safe environment and the person will not harm you:
    • Stay with the person, or ask someone you trust to stay with the person, until help arrives.
    • Don't argue with the person or make statements like "It's not as bad as you think," and don't challenge the person by saying "You're not the type to try suicide." Arguing with the person may only increase his or her feelings of being out of control of his or her life.
    • Talk about the situation as openly as possible. Tell the person that you don't want him or her to die or to harm another person. Show understanding and compassion.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, BSc, MD, FRCPC, FCCP - Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine

Current as ofNovember 20, 2017

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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