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Suicide Prevention

DETAILS

Warning Signs

  • Extreme shifts in mood, energy, or behavior are a WARNING sign. 

    For example, if someone is experiencing depression, and suddenly has an extreme shift for the “better” (i.e. becoming happier), many times, they are NOT on the up in terms of recovery. That happiness is coming from a place of finding a solution to end their pain. For them, that solution is suicide. Suicide becomes a light at the end of their tunnel. I’ve watched friends become devastated over the idea that their loved one was so happy the night, day, week beforehand and how bamboozled that can leave the people left behind. Extreme shifts in mood, energy, or behavior are a WARNING sign.

  • Another warning sign is tying up loose ends

    For example, if someone begins to give away their possessions, i.e. gifting their favorite watch to a family member, giving a friend a memento they have together, or perhaps even giving out money. Another example of this could be spending time with loved ones can be in attempts to “say goodbye” to everyone they care about.

  • People can drop hints, thoughts, or even threats about death or suicide is a warning sign.

    Phrases like “I wish I wasn’t here” or “I wish I could just end it.” If you hear either of these from a friend or loved one, immediately ask if they mean suicide. If the answer is yes and they have a plan, call 911 or The Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • Any extreme shift in behavior for the person, usually

    Aggressive behavior (out of their norms)
    Impulsive or even reckless behavior (out of their norms)
    Social withdrawal
    Dramatic mood swings
    Increased alcohol/drug use 
    These will look different for everyone, but extreme increase or deviation from the person’s specific, usual habits

HOMEWORK

SUICIDE PREVENTION TECHNIQUE: QPR

QPR is the CPR for our mind. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. 

  • Q = Question = Ask the question. “Are you thinking about suicide?” 

    You are NOT planting the seed. Always ask if you are unsure. If no, then that’s relieving but find ways to support them for whatever they are going through. If yes, move to P.

  • P = Persuade = Persuade them to get help. 

    If someone has a plan and is ready to see that plan out, persuade that person to get help one more time, and have them promise to stay with you until you find some. Stay with the person while either: calling 911, calling the suicide lifeline, making a plan with an online/over the phone therapist for getting long-term help, etc.

    Persuade the person to stay with you while getting them help. Tell them that their life is worth living. They have options. There are ways to feel better that they may have not thought of yet and folks that are here to help us find those ways.

  • R = Refer = Refer them to Resources. 

    If they have a plan set in place, stay with them while you call 911 or The Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If they do not have a plan in place, you can call other resources listed below. 

    Stay with them while you find a family member or guardian that can be there throughout the entire time receive immediate support. 

    Keep in mind your resources! Refer to this post or our Get Help page if you forget.

Please keep in mind that this is an abridged version of an evidence based training. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, not just mental health professionals. 

QPR is an evidence based training that is usually offered free to local communities. To learn more in depth about QPR training or find a local branch near you, visit their website

SUICIDE PREVENTION TECHNIQUE: DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN

A safety plan, or crisis plan, is a document that contains important information and outlines how to respond to a crisis situation. 

Many healthcare providers require patients to create a crisis plan that include:

  • phone numbers of mental health professions, family members and friends
  • a list of current prescription medications, doses and diagnosis
  • any history of suicide attempts, psychosis or drug use history
  • a list of triggers 
  • a list of coping mechanisms and self soothing activities
  • a list of reasons to live and people you love (your support system)

CITE YOUR SOURCES

  1. CRISIS RESOURCES

If anyone is in immediate need of help, please call 911

  • If you or a loved one is in immediate danger calling 911 and talking with the police may be necessary. It is important to notify the operator that it is a psychiatric emergency and ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention or trained to assist people experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

National Suicide Prevention Lifelife - Call 800-273-TALK (8255)

  • If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

Crisis Text Support - Text HELLO to 741-741

  • Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message. 
  • Text with a trained Crisis Counselor for free crisis support (suicidal support or any painful emotion for which you need support). This can be done on a phone or computer: text "HELLO" or "START" to begin. The first two messages are automated before you're connected to a counselor. This usually takes less than 5 minutes. (Can also find links under our “Resources” page.) 

2. SUPPORT RESOURCES (INFORMATION, PLANNING, ETC. NOT FOR CRISIS)

NAMI HELPLINE - 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

  • The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET. 
    Helpline staff and volunteers are prepared to answer your questions about mental health issues including: symptoms of mental health conditions, treatment options, local support groups and services, education programs, helping family members get treatment, programs to help find jobs, legal issues (the NAMI Legal Resource Service can connect individuals with attorneys in their area but does not have the resources to provide individual representation), etc. 

LONG-TERM SUPPORT

Support Groups

  • Look up your local NAMI chapter
  • Connect to The Trevor Project (specifically suicide prevention for LGBTQIAA+ youth)
    Therapy

Therapy