Express your concerns

Talking to someone about their suicidal thoughts can be very inhibitory. If you are unsure whether someone is suicidal or not, the best thing to do is to ask them. In no way should you be concerned that if you ask about it, you will get someone to think about suicide. It’s not like this! In fact, it gives the person an opportunity to talk about feelings, thereby reducing the burden of suppressed negative feelings.

Start a conversation about suicide

Talking to someone about their suicidal thoughts can be very inhibitory. If you are unsure whether someone is suicidal or not, the best thing to do is to ask them. In no way should you be concerned that if you ask about it, you will get someone to think about suicide. It’s not like this! In fact, it gives the person an opportunity to talk about feelings, thereby reducing the burden of suppressed negative feelings.

It is advantageous to take seriously what the person at risk of suicide is saying and to ask how this desperate situation came about. You can ask if you can help in a form or do something for the person. You should not take unfriendly reactions or rejections from the person at risk of suicide personally and react as calmly and patiently as possible.

You should avoid good advice, persuasion and encouragement. These may push the vulnerable. only deeper into its hopelessness, which is counterproductive. A person at risk of suicide usually knows what would be good to do. The problem is usually that she doesn’t feel able to do it at this moment. If the situation seems to have relaxed, you should not leave the person concerned alone. An abrupt improvement can paradoxically also be associated with a particularly high risk of suicide, because the person concerned has already made his or her decision to take his own life and has closed it off with the environment, his counterpart and life.

Do not hesitate to get help or go to the outpatient clinic together with the person concerned. It should be borne in mind that the main cause of suicides is an illness – depression – from which the person concerned cannot get rid of himself. But it is easy to treat. When active depression subsides after a few weeks or months during treatment, the individual is usually very grateful that their surroundings have protected them from themselves during the depression.

Helpful Words

  • “I want to help you and I’m there when you need someone to talk to.”

The following questions are used to find out whether someone has suicidal thoughts:

  • “I’m worried because I wonder if you’re thinking about taking your life?” (Intention)
  • “Have you already planned something?” (Plan)
  • “How would you do it?” (Medium)
  • “Do you have any idea when you want to take your life?” (Time frame)

Someone who plans to kill himself must be referred directly to professional help and must not be left alone.