Helping a Suicidal Loved One
Do not be afraid to ask, “Are you having suicidal thoughts?” Be direct.
Be empathetic. Listen without judgment.
Check in often. It shows you care.
Do not be afraid to act if risk is high.
Unsure what to do and need advice? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for input (1-800-273-8255).
BASICS OF ASSESSING CRISIS
The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:
- Do you have a suicide plan? (PLAN)
- Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (LETHALITY/MEANS)
- Do you know when you would do it? (TIME SET)
- Do you intend to take your own life? (INTENTION)
The more affirmative answers, the higher the risk. If you assess high risk, remember, you cannot honor secrets, respect confidentiality, or worry about how your relationship will be impacted. A life is on the line. Get help.
WHAT TO DO
Take the person seriously.
Stay with them. Under no circumstances leave them alone.
Help them remove lethal means such as guns, drugs, knives, etc.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK.
Text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7.
Escort them to mental health services or an emergency room.
If the person is unwilling to get help, call 911 or CAHOOTS (Eugene—541-682-5111; Springfield—541-726-3714).
CRISIS RESPONSE OPTIONS:
Uncooperative or escalated person: Call 911 or call CAHOOTS and they will come to you. CAHOOTS is dispatched in Eugene through the police-fire-ambulance communications center, 541-682-5111 and within the Springfield urban growth boundary through the non-emergency number, 541-726-3714.
Distraught but cooperative person:
- Take them to the emergency room, or
- Take them to Hour Glass Community Crisis Center at 71 Centennial Loop, Suite A, Eugene, OR 97401. Hourglass Community Crisis Center serves adults residing in Lane County who are in need of short-term, mental health crisis assessment and stabilization, but do not require the medical capabilities of an acute care hospital or longer-term residential care. Hourglass Community Crisis Center is open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and operated by a highly trained dedicated staff whose goal is to provide support, stabilization, and linkage to community services. Service is free of charge. Phone: 541-505-8426.
- Worried about someone who lives out of town who isn’t responding to phone calls/texts? Call the non-emergency police number of their town and ask for a well check on the person at their home.
SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ and https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma11-disaster-11.pdf
HelpGuide provides information in an easy-to-follow format. The website lists symptoms to watch for, shows how to assess crisis levels, offers tips on what to do (or not do), and provides many valuable resources. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention.htm?pdf=13947
Focus on the Family Suicide Resources for Families. Includes book recommendations, broadcasts, articles, webpages and more. http://media.focusonthefamily.com/topicinfo/resource-list-responding-to-suicide.pdf
Focus on the Family Alive to Thrive Teen Suicide Prevention Program. https://alivetothrive.focusonthefamily.com/program/
SURVIVORS OF SUICIDE LOSS: http://www.sprc.org/populations/suicide-loss
Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning
Randy Alcorn’s blog post, “Suicide, Heaven, and Jesus—the Answer to Our Sorrow”: https://www.epm.org/blog/2019/Oct/7/suicide-heaven-jesus-sorrow
Suicide continues to rise. The most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization shows that:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
- Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide, one every 12 minutes. (CDC)
- Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)
- There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts, but in the elderly, one for every estimated 4 suicide attempts. (CDC)
- Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides… with firearms the most commonly used method. (CDC)
- Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females and they attempt suicide 3x’s as often as males. (CDC)
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds. (CDC)