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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

Current as of: February 26, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
David Messenger MD

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