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.
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.