Start The Conversation

TALKING TO A PERSON CLOSE TO YOU ABOUT SUICIDE MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT, BUT IT'S AN IMPORTANT STEP IN HELPING YOUR LOVED ONE GET THE SUPPORT HE NEEDS.


When talking to a loved one about suicide:

  • Remember that talking about suicide will not make a person suicidal.
  • Listen without judging or offering advice.
  • Encourage him to seek support, or go with him if possible.
  • Talk in a private location.
  • Offer continued support.
  • Follow up with your loved one to ensure that he is getting the support he needs.

Openers for starting a conversation:

  • “I have been concerned about you lately.”
  • “I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed like yourself lately.”
  • “I have noticed some differences in you, like … (be specific about the changes), and wondered how you are doing.”
  • “I’ve noticed that you’ve mentioned feeling hopeless a lot lately.”
  • “Sometimes when people hopeless, they are thinking about suicide. Are you thinking about suicide?”
  • “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
  • “I’m deeply concerned about you and I want you to know that help is available to get you through this.”
  • “This must be a very difficult time for you. But have you always felt like you wanted to die? There’s a chance you won’t feel this way forever.”

Questions to help encourage the conversation:

  • When did you begin feeling like this?”
  • “Did something happen that looks or feels unresolvable?”
  • “Did something happen that you feel is too much?”
  • “How can I best support you right now?”
  • “Have you thought about getting help?”

Words of support and encouragement:

  • “You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.”
  • “I can help” or “I can go with you to find help.”
  • “I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”
  • “When you want to give up, tell yourself to hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.”

Now that you have started the conversation, it's time to Reach Out.

  • Injury Prevention Centre
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Edmonton Transit
  • The Support Network
  • Government of Alberta
  • University of Alberta