Help Someone at Risk of Suicide

People sometimes take their lives when feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and pain overtake their feelings of hope.

Know the warning signs of someone who may be at risk of suicide

Is the person you are concerned about:

  • Saying things like: “If I were gone…”, “I can’t see the point of living anymore”, “They’d be better off without me”, “I want to die”, “I want to kill myself”
  • Increasing their use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Lacking a sense of belonging, worth or purpose in life
  • Feeling more distressed, nervous and anxious than usual
  • Feeling like there is nowhere to go/no way to make this better
  • Feeling that life has no meaning and that there is no hope for the future
  • Feeling helpless to change the situation and move forward
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and activities that once brought pleasure
  • Being angrier or more irritable than usual
  • Engaging in risky and/or careless behaviour
  • Showing marked differences in mood: depression, sadness, elation, anxiety etc.

How to start the conversation

Broaching the topic of suicide can be challenging. While it is important that you use words that fit for you, here are some ideas to consider:

“I know you’ve been going through a difficult time. I’ve been concerned about you. When people go through difficult times, feel sad, alone and hopeless they can sometimes think about suicide. Have you had thoughts of suicide?”

“Lately you don’t seem yourself. You seem sad and withdrawn, possibly even depressed. I’m concerned about you, and I’ve been wondering if you have had any thoughts of suicide?”

Before having this conversation it is important to be aware of what resources you can refer people to. It is also important to be aware of what your own personal limits are. Be clear about what you can and can not   do, and do not make promises you cannot keep. For example:

“I’m glad you told me what you have been feeling and thinking. I want to make sure that you get the support you need to get past this and feel better. I’m here for you, but I also think it’s important that you talk to someone who has experience and training in this area. Perhaps you might start by talking with someone from the MB Suicide Prevention and Support Line”