Use this information as a quick way to help someone
What do you do if you see someone exhibiting suicidal behavior?

The first step should always be to speak to the individual and ask if they are OK.

Be direct with your question, ask them, “Are you OK? Are you thinking about ending your life?” If they react quickly with a, “no!” and look as if you are crazy then you can probably laugh with them and say, “great, I’m just concerned about you.”

If they hesitate for a split second then chances are they are thinking it. If they skirt the issue, ask again, “Do you have a plan to end your life?” Again, be direct. Your next step would be to say that you are concerned about them, that you have no judgment, you just want to help.

Ask them if you can take them to a facility for help and if you feel they need immediate help then call 911.

What causes someone to become suicidal?

Sadly there is not a direct cause, but we have found many of the risk factors to be as follows:

  • History of physical/emotional/sexual abuse
  • History of family violence
  • Personal trauma
  • History of suicide in the family
  • Recent suicides in geographical area.  Age & group in younger clients, contagions
  • Reasons for dying
  • Desire to die
  • Age:  peak 55-65 (veterans increases with age), 15-34 second leading cause of death is suicide
  • Sex:  women attempt three times more than men, but men complete at four times more
  • Grief
  • Some prescription medications
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial strain
  • Legal issues
  • School issues
  • Work issues
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of proper nutrition

A chain of risk factors can prompt a person to rapidly contemplate suicide without ever showing any of the above signs.

C.A.T.S. is another example of the progression – Crisis, Acute grief, Trauma, then Suicide.