Helping A Suicidal Person

  • Get professional help. 

    Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor's appointment.

    Follow-up on treatment.

    If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. It often takes time and persistence to find the medication or therapy that’s right for a particular person.

    Be proactive. 

    Those contemplating suicide often don't believe they can be helped, so you may have to be more proactive at offering assistance. Saying, “Call me if you need anything” is too vague. Don’t wait for the person to call you or even to return your calls. Drop by, call again, invite the person out.

    Encourage positive lifestyle changes.

    A healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.

    Make a safety plan. 

    Help the person develop a set of steps he or she promises to follow during a suicidal crisis. It should identify any triggers that may lead to a suicidal crisis, such as an anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Also include contact numbers for the person's doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.

    Remove potential means of suicide. 

    Items such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms must be removed. If the person is likely to take an overdose, keep medications locked away or give out only as the person needs them.

    Continue your support over the long haul. 

    Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch with the person, periodically checking in or dropping by. Your support is vital to ensure your friend or loved one remains on the recovery track.


    Helpful Resources


    Visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline webpage 

    The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

    1-800-273-TALK (8255)


    Text HOME to 741741

    A free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis.


    Visit the

    National chat network that can provide online emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services. 


    Visit the

    Information on the warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help.


    Visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness webpage

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.


    Visit The Campaign to Change Direction webpage

    The Campaign to Change Direction encourages all Americans to pay attention to their emotional well-being and aims to change the culture of mental health in America.


    Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention webpage

    The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) works to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. 


    Visit the Crisis Center Birmingham webpage

    The mission of the Crisis Center is to serve the unmet needs of people experiencing personal crisis or mental health issues and respond with services that promote coping, emotional health and well-being.

    CRISIS LINE (205) 323-7777


    Visit The Jason Foundation webpage

    The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators/youth workers and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.


    Visit the American Association of Suicidology webpage

    The American Association of Suicidology promotes understanding and prevention of suicide and supports those who have been affected by it. 


    Visit The Trevor Project webpage

    The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.