Strategies to Prevent Suicide

  • ASK – Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner, can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken.
  • BE THERE – This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk.
  • HELP KEEP THEM SAFE - The Help Keep Them Safe step is really about showing support for someone during the times when they have thoughts of suicide by putting time and distance between the person and their chosen method, especially methods that have shown higher lethality.
  • HELP THEM CONNECT - Connect them with ongoing supports such as seeing a therapist, giving them the 988 number, or creating a safety plan.
  • FOLLOW UP – After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.



For providers:

Strengthen economic supports

  • Improve household financial security
  • Stabilize housing

Create protective environments

  • Reduce access to lethal means among persons at risk of suicide
  • Create healthy organizational policies and culture
  • Reduce substance use through community-based policies and practices

Improve access and delivery of suicide care

  • Cover mental health conditions in health insurance policies
  • Increase provider availability in underserved areas
  • Provide rapid and remote access to help
  • Create safer suicide care through systems change

Promote healthy connections

  • Promote healthy peer norms
  • Engage community members in shared activities

Teach coping and problem-solving skills

  • Support social-emotional learning programs
  • Teach parenting skills to improve family relationships
  • Support resilience through education programs

Identify and support people at risk

  • Train gatekeepers
  • Respond to crises
  • Plan for safety and follow-up after an attempt
  • Provide therapeutic approaches

Lessen harms and prevent future risk

  • Intervene after a suicide (postvention)
  • Report and message about suicide safely


If you are in crisis, call or text 988. The 988 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 in the United States.