How to Help Someone Thinking About Suicide

If someone you know is in imminent danger or has taken action to end their life, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. 
If you need to call 911, ask for a CIT (Crisis Intervention Trained) officer who is equipped in handling a mental health crisis situation
More ways to help someone in immediate danger:

Talking Can Make An Impact 

What to do if someone says they are thinking about suicide. 

Trust your intuition. 

Hands cupping a little plant with dirt.

Plant A Seed of Hope


With a conversation you can be: 

  • the encouragement someone needs to seek help
  • a person to offer information of where to go
  • a person to offer compassion to overcome challenging emotions
  • a person to help them access professional support

Remember, you do not have to do this alone and there are sometimes factors beyond our control. Trained professionals are ready 24/7 to provide guidance and support for you and the person you are concerned about.

How To Help Someone Thinking About Suicide 

If you're concerned about someone's safety, start a CARE conversation. If they say they are having suicidal thoughts, here's what to do next: ask, be there, keep them safe, help them connect, and follow-up. 

Here's what that looks like:

If Someone You Know Is Thinking About Suicide:  

  1. Ask 
  2. Be There 
  3. Keep Them Safe 
  4. Help Them Connect 
  5. Follow-up 

Ask & Be There

If you're concerned about someone's safety, ask them about suicide. Stay calm, listen, and allow them to open up at their own pace. Your role is to listen, not fix.

  • Are you thinking about suicide? 

  • Are you thinking of actually killing yourself?

  • Can you tell me more about what you're experiencing?

Help Keep Them Safe

 If they say they are thinking about suicide, ask this: 

  • Do you have a plan? If they say yes, ask: Do you have any intention of acting on your plan? Do you have the means to do this?

No matter what they say to the above:

  • Ask: Can I remove anything that you can harm yourself with? How can I help keep you safe? 

  • Get them connected with professional help.

Almost 98% of people who call, chat or text the 988 Lifeline get the crisis support they need and do not require additional services in that moment (SAMHSA, 2023). 

If you're not sure what to say, try these statements:

  • I can stay with you while we set up an appointment with CAPS and I can walk with you to your appointment when the time comes and/or get some lunch or coffee/tea afterwards with you.
  • Let's save a few numbers on our phones together. (Call 988, Text 741741)
  • Let's call the lifeline (988) or CAPS 24/7 crisis line (520-621-3334) together.
  • You are experiencing a lot. Let's find help together so you don't have to face it alone.
Women and man having a conversation sitting in bed

Closing The Conversation 

When you have come up with the next steps together, it is okay to close the conversation. Your willingness to ask, listen, and simply be there for them is more helpful than you know. This conversation is just the beginning and it opens the door to additional support and resources. Express gratitude for their willingness to share and reassure them that they are not alone. Try language like this:  

  • Thank you so much for trusting me with something so personal. I just want you to know that I care a lot about you, you're not alone and you deserve support. 


They Refuse To Seek Help

Whether they would like to receive help is up to them. However, if they are in immediate danger or your intuition is telling you they are not safe, you can call the crisis line yourself or take them to an emergency room or crisis center where they can get professional help. 

They Tell Me Not To Tell Anyone

Express your sincere concern about their well-being and explain that while you respect their privacy, you can't promise you won't talk to someone about it. It is not gossip to reach out to professional help or support for yourself. 

They Get Angry or Upset With Me

Although not ideal, a conversation like this can upset someone; however, it also lets them know you are there and care. Take a step back and let them process their emotions. Remind yourself that their safety is your priority. 

Women on the phone.

What Happens When... 

These resources are available to support those experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress and for those worried about someone else.

I call, text or chat 988 

  • Free, confidential, 24/7 care where a trained person answers and they will work with you to understand your situation and provide support and resources.  Call, text or chat is available in English & Spanish to anyone in the United States. 

I CALL Pima County Crisis Line (520-622-6000) 

  • Free, confidential 24/7 support where behavioral health professionals will talk with you and can send a mobile team to you to asses, stabilize, and if needed, facilitate getting a higher level of care.

I Text 741741 Crisis Line  

  •  Free, confidential, 24/7 care and support. A trained crisis counselor will text with you and provide guidance in developing a supportive plan of action. 

I call CAPs 24/7 (520-621-3334) 

  • You can call CAPS 24/7 number. During business hours you can be connected to a CAPS counselor. After hours crisis callers may speak with a Crisis and Access Specialist by  pressing 1 when prompted by the automated message. 

After The Conversation 

Persons holding hands.


  • If you see them, check-in and ask how they are doing. 
  • Send them a message to let them know you care and want to know how they are doing. 
  • If you invite them to hang out and they decline, handle it gracefully without taking it personally. If you are concerned about their safety, follow-up.  
  • Avoid gossiping, and handle their trust with care. 
  • Avoid inviting them to gatherings with alcohol and other drugs.  

Take Care Of Yourself 

Having this conversation can be heavy. It is okay to step back, take time for yourself and set healthy boundaries. 

Self-Care Hub

Interpersonal Wellness 


Get Outside Support 

You do not have to go through this alone, support is available for you too. 

1:1 Counseling 

Site-Based Counseling 

Peer Counseling

Resources To Know