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Seeing someone you care about struggle with alcohol, drugs, gambling, suicidal thoughts or mental health can be tough. Many of us want to help a friend or loved one, but don't know where to start.  That’s why Your Life Iowa is here for you. 24/7. 

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Many of us want to help a friend or loved one, but don't know where to start. 

You may be wondering how to help someone you care about who may be suicidal. This can be a frightening concern and people often wonder what they can do while worrying about doing the wrong thing. But you can save a life by asking a simple question, “Are you thinking about suicide?”

With this single question, we can let someone we care about know we’re there for them. No matter what. When you need help talking to a loved one about suicide, contact Your Life Iowa right away. WE CAN HELP YOU HELP YOUR LOVED ONES.  

Getting help is always the best choice. 

Here are other important actions you can take:

  • Be aware of and learn the suicide warning signs.
  • Get involved and show interest and support.
  • Ask the person if they are having thoughts of suicide.
  • Be direct and use the word “suicide” or “killing yourself.”
  • Be willing to listen and accept the person’s feelings. 
  • Don’t judge the person for their feelings or thoughts, or lecture them.
  • Never dare them to “just do it.”
  • Try to avoid “why” questions – these tend to make people defensive.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy; it will be important for you and the person who may be thinking of suicide to have additional support.
  • Do offer hope that alternatives to suicide are available.
  • If there are lethal means to suicide available, remove the means. Get help from agencies specializing in crisis and suicide prevention.

Here are some ways to be helpful to someone who is thinking about suicide:

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare them to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as firearms or stockpiled pills.

If you believe someone is at risk for suicide or has made a suicide attempt:

  • Don't leave the person alone.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what's going on.

Important facts to remember:

  • Suicide is preventable. Most people do want to live, but are unable to see through their pain to what other choices they have.
  • Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.
  • You can help save a life by caring, listening and acting to get help.

Contact Your Life Iowa

We are here to help you deal with suicidal thoughts that you or a loved one may be having. Our caring experts are available to listen to you. We are here for you and your call is confidential.

Actively Listen

Really listen to what the person is saying, because you care about them. Be attentive to their words and sensitive to their emotions. You can also summarize what the person is saying to make sure you understand by repeating a paraphrase of what they've said. Be engaged with the person and use eye contact. You're concerned for their health and safety so it's good to really hear where they are coming from.

Watch for Warning Signs

People who are dealing with thoughts about suicide can feel trapped. They can feel out of control and have no way to escape from their crisis. Be aware of feelings like this. If you’re worried for yourself for a friend, call us at Your Life Iowa any time.

Whether you want more information about suicide and suicide prevention, would like to connect to a treatment professional or just want to talk to someone, we’re here for you. Call us, text us or chat with us online.