What to Say to Someone Who may be Suicidal
What to Say
Are you worried someone you know is thinking of suicide but you’re not sure what to do?
Here are 6 things to say and do to try and keep them safe:
- Ask directly about their suicidal feelings. Talking about suicide is the first step to preventing suicide!
- Let them know you care.
- Keep them away from anything that may cause harm such as guns, pills, ropes, knives, vehicles etc.
- Stay with them (eyes on at all times) and get a professional involved.
- Offer a message of hope – Let them know you will assist them in getting help.
- Connect them with help:
- Alaska Careline: 877-266-4357 text 4help: 839863
- Crisis Text for Life: 741741
- Alaska Suicide Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (press “1” for veterans)
- Visit the Juneau mental Health Directory at juneaumentalhealth.org
- If in an imminent crisis please go to the emergency department; or emergencies dial 911
Shared by the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition with permission from NAMI New Hampshire
Suicide Warning Signs
What to Say
Warning signs indicate that someone may be suicidal. They show that something is very wrong. Though they appear clear and concrete they are often hard to see in someone that we are close to or in ourselves. Warning signs are not always present, but it is important that they be identified when they are evident.
- Hopelessness, worthlessness, feeling a loss of control, helplessness
- Threatening to harm oneself or completing suicide
- Having a definite plan for completing suicide
- Acquiring the means to complete suicide (e.g, getting a gun)
- Rehearsing or visiting a place to complete suicide
- Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
- Changes in eating, sleeping, and personal care, apathy, lack of energy, inability to focus
- Talking or writing about death, drawing images of death
- Withdrawing from social relationships or activities
- Losing interest in hobbies, work, school
- Giving away highly valued personal items or possessions
- Undergoing significant changes in mood and personality
- Engaging in reckless or dangerous behaviors
- Making a will, funeral arrangements, or telling others how affairs should be handled
For more about warning Visit the American Association of Suicidology.
What to Say
Keep in mind events and circumstances that increase risk:
Having more warning signs.
If your friend has more than a couple of these warning signs for suicide in the near-team, do contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or a mental health professional: having more than one of these signs has been associated with greater risk of suicidal behavior. (Remember, if a youth has critical warning signs like talking about killing him or herself or dying or looking for ways to kill him or herself, get immediate help.)
Losses and other events – whether anticipated or actual – can lead to feelings of shame, humiliation, or despair and may serve as triggering events for suicidal behavior. Triggering events include losses, such as the breakup of a relationship or a death; academic failures; trouble with authorities, such as school suspensions or legal difficulties; bullying; or health problems. This is especially true for youth already vulnerable because of low self-esteem or a mental disorder, such as depression. Help is available and should be arranged.
Previous suicide attempts
If your friend has attempted suicide in the past, he or she is at an increased risk for another attempt or suicide. Many suicide attempts go unrecognized, but if you are aware of a previous attempt, pay attention to warning signs. If your friend is expressing some thoughts about suicide, it’s okay to ask, “have you ever had these thoughts before?” and if so, “have you ever done anything about them?” This is especially important when conditions are similar to prior attempts.
For more about warning Visit the American Association of Suicidology.
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis
“NAMI developed this guide to support people experiencing mental health crises, their friends and families by providing important, sometimes lifesaving information. This guide outlines what can contribute to a crisis, warning signs that a crisis is emerging, strategies to help de-escalate a crisis and resources that may be available for those affected. Also included is information about advocating for a person in crisis along with a sample crisis plan.”
Suicide of a Student
“Occasionally we find ourselves talking to an individual or even a group of people who have just lost someone young to suicide. Our instinct is to panic when we find this out. We ask ourselves “What do I say?” “Will I make it worse?” Say what you feel, talking about what has happened will only help the healing process.”
Responding to Survivors
“Survivors must wade thru both the emotional devastation and the stigma that accompanies a suicide death. Do not judge. Be compassionate and offer support just like with any death. Think of suicide as the tragic result of an illness; the most misunderstood of illnesses. You can help erase stigma by your reaction to this tragic death.”
Grief After Suicide
Juneau Community Resources
AEYC’s Mission: “With a cohesive voice, our membership encourages excellence through leadership, advocacy and education, for the needs and rights of all young children in our communities.”
Location: 3100 Channel Dr., Suite 215, (Juneau Empire Building, floor 2N)
Phone: (907) 789-1235
About: AWARE exists to provide safe shelter and supportive services for women and children who have been subject to domestic or sexual violence; and to effect the social, political and legal changes needed to eliminate oppression and violence against women and children. AWARE is located in Juneau, Alaska. AWARE provides services in all of the following Southeast Alaska communities: Elfin Cove, Gustavus, Haines, Hoonah, Juneau, Klukwan, Pelican, Skagway, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat.
Office Phone: (907) 586-6623
Prevention Office: (907) 586-4902
Crisis Line: (907) 586-1090
About: Bartlett Regional Hospital’s mission is to provide its community with quality, patient-centered care in a sustainable manner.
Address: 3260 Hospital Drive, Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: (907) 796-8900
About: The Hospice and Home Care of Juneau is hosting a Bereavement Support Group open to anyone who has experienced loss of a loved one. The Bereavement Support Group meets every third Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Bridge Adult Day Program at 1803 Old Glacier Highway. There is no cost to attend. Call 463-6111 for more information.
Address: 1803 Old Glacier Highway, Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: (907) 463-6111
About: Big Brothers Big Sisters’s mission is to provide children (6 – 17) facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Phone: (907) 586-3350
About: Catholic Community Service (CCS) is a comprehensive, mission-driven social service agency dedicated to reaching out to persons and families in need throughout Southeast Alaska. Our desire to serve others is at the heart of our mission and is rooted in Catholic Social Teachings. CCS provides an array of quality services ranging from children and families, seniors and adults with disabilities, and to people who need in-home care and/or end-of-life palliative care. CCS provides services in three main areas:
1.) Seniors and adults with disabilities
2.) Children and families
3.) Hospice and Home Care
Phone: (907) 463-6100
About: Central Council is a tribal government representing nearly 30,000 Tlingit and Haida Indians worldwide. Central Council is a sovereign entity and has a government to government relationship with the United States.
Central Council’s headquarters are in Juneau, Alaska but our commitment to serving the Tlingit and Haida people extends throughout the United States
Central Council offers a variety of family-centered services focused on promoting and supporting safe and stable families. These services assist individuals in attaining the education and skills necessary to support healthy lifestyles, develop meaningful careers and engage in the traditional activities of their communities.
Services include information and referral, case management, financial assistance, foster and child care, training, vocational rehabilitation, nutrition and other supportive services. The programs are designed to address immediate and long term needs associated with family well-being and financial self-sufficiency.
Services are provided in collaboration with tribes and key state, local, faith-based and private agency partners. The programs are supported jointly, through contracts and agreements with private, local, state and federally funded agencies, with the majority of resources generated from federal grants.
Phone: (907) 586-1432
About: DenaliKidCare is a State of Alaska program designed to ensure that children and teens of both working and non-working families can have the health insurance they need. Denali KidCare provides excellent health insurance coverage for children and teens through age 18, and for pregnant women who meet income guidelines.
About: Gastineau Human Services is a private non-profit behavioral health agency in Juneau, Alaska dedicated to providing the socially stigmatized of Southeast Alaska opportunities to gain the skills and lifestyles necessary to better themselves and their community. Our programs are built on the belief that each individual is responsible for his or her own behavior and that all persons are deserving of equal opportunity. Each human being, regardless of present condition and inherited characteristics, has the potential for positive change. GHS provides services in the following areas:
1.) Behavioral Health Services
2.) Transitional Housing
3.) Community Corrections
Phone: (907) 780-4338
Description: The Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc. (JAMHI) has provided quality community based mental health services in Juneau since 1985. JAMHI develops individualized mental health treatment plans to meet the specific needs of clients while helping them live in the community where they can be close to and receive the support of friends and family. JAMHI is committed to the philosophy of psychiatric rehabilitation. JAMHI provides the following broad range of services and support: Emergency Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; Case Management and Support Services; Residential Support Services; Rehabilitation Services; Clinical and Psychiatric Assessments; and Medication Management.
Location: 3406 Glacier Highway, Juneau AK 99801
Hours: 24 hours 7 days a week (After normal business hours you may get an answering service who will call an on call clinician to help you.)
Contact: (907) 463-3303
For the most current information, visit their website at: www.jamhi.org
About: Juneau Parks and Recreation’s mission statement is to enhance the quality of life in Juneau, the Parks and Recreation Department will deliver a high level of guest service with cost effective operations provided by highly engaged employees. Some of the parks and recreation’s programs/facilities include: Adult and Youth Sports, Augustus Brown Swimming Pool and the Diamond Park Aquatic Center, Jensen-Olsen Arboretum, Treadwell Ice Arena.
Phone: (907) 586-5226
About: Juneau School District’s mission: In Juneau we are all partners in providing each student with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be a contributing citizen in a changing world.
Phone: (907) 523-1772
About: Juneau Youth Services (JYS) is a comprehensive behavioral health provider for children and youth, and their families. JYS offers services in the following areas: Assessments, Treatment Foster Care, Chemical Dependency, Residential and Family Outpatient Programs, School Based Services.
Phone: (907) 789-8443
About: Love INC is a network of caring, Christian churches in the greater Juneau area committed to helping individuals and families with spiritual, physical, and emotional needs.
Phone: (907) 780-4090
Hours: Love INC is Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM and Tuesday evening from 7:00 – 8:30 PM.
About: NAMI Juneau’s mission is to provide advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals affected by mental illness can build better lives. We offer free, peer-driven education courses to individuals experiencing mental illness, as well as education and support to family members, friends and the greater community. These programs are free, delivered by trained peers or individuals with lived experience and are designed to facilitate a better understanding of mental illness, increase coping skills and empower participants to become better advocates.
Inside Passages: monthly forums featuring a variety of topics and speakers on mental health & wellness. Held on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:15-6:45, Sept – May at the Bartlett Admin Board Room
Please visit NAMI’s website for upcoming programs and events.
About: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is wheelchair accessible via an elevator located in the basement. Please let us know in advance if you need assistance accessing our building. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is dedicated to providing accessible services to everybody. Please contact us and let us know how we can accommodate you.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Juneau Affiliate (NCADDJ), a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit voluntary health organization, has been providing alcohol and other drug education, prevention, intervention, and outreach services since first incorporating in 1965, and outpatient treatment services beginning in 2012. Our mission statement is “to provide education, information, help and hope in the fight against alcoholism and other drug addictions.”
Phone: (907) 463-3755 (also a 24 crisis intervention hotline)
Location: 211 4th Street #100, Juneau, Alaska 99801
About: REACH offers programs that provide housing, independent living, respite for caregivers, grants, job coaching and skill development, employment, developmental screenings and assessments, education, information and referrals to children and adults with developmental delays or disabilities throughout the northern part of Southeast Alaska. REACH has offices in: Haines and staff in Petersburg. From these locations, services are available to residents of Skagway, Hoonah, Wrangell, Yakutat, and other communities.
Phone: (907) 586-8228
Fax: (907) 586-8226
Location: 213 Third Street Juneau, AK 99801
About: SAIL’s seeks to inspire personal independence. SAIL empowers elders and people with disabilities by providing services and information to support them in making choices that will positively affect their independence and productivity in society.
ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) is the adaptive sports and recreation program of SAIL. Our purpose is to promote inclusive recreation and adaptive outdoor pursuits for Southeast Alaskan’s who experience disabilities. We maintain three offices–one in Juneau, one in Ketchikan and one in Sitka. Services include community access and inclusion opportunities, an adaptive ski and snowboard school, youth and transition recreation services, adaptive outdoor pursuits, adaptive equipment for loan, classes and courses, and multi-day domestic and international trips.
SAIL Phone: (907) 586-4920
Toll Free Phone: 1-800-478-SAIL (1-800-478-7245)
ORCA Phone: (907) 586-0104
Location: 3225 Hospital Drive, Suite 300, Juneau, AK 99801
About: SEARHC is a non-profit tribal health consortium of 18 Native communities which serves the health interests of the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and other Native people of Southeast Alaska. We are one of the oldest and largest Native-run health organizations in the nation. SEARHC provides comprehensive behavioral and primary health care services. SEARHC offers services in the following community: Angoon, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Kasaan. Klawock, Klukwan, Pelican, Petersburg, Sitka, Skagway, Thorne Bay, Wrangell, and Yakutat.
Phone: (907) 463-4000
About: The mission of the Zach Gordon Youth Center is to provide a safe and respectful home away from home where youth can develop healthy lifestyles. The center is available to youth up to age 20 for drop in fun, for good eats and for supportive services and connection. Have a need and don’t know where to turn? Come see us, we’ll get you connected and we’re always available to listen. Want to meet other kids, play pool, or learn to rock climb? Come see us! Need dinner? We’ve got you covered!
Phone: (907) 586-2635
Location: 396 Whittier Ave. Juneau, AK 99801
Mission: “To promote the understanding and prevention of suicide and support those who have been affected by it.”
Location: 5221 Wisconsin Avenue, NW | Washington, DC 20015
Phone: (202) 237-2280
Mission: “The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators/youth workers and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.”
Phone: (615) 264-2323
Mission: “NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.”
Mission: “SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.”
Phone: 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727)
Location: 5600 Fishers Ln, Rockville, MD 20857
Mission: “We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.”
Mission: “The Light for Life Foundation Int’l/Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® is dedicated to preventing suicide and attempts by Making Suicide Prevention Accessible to Everyone and Removing Barriers to Help by:
- Empowering individuals and communities through leadership, awareness and education; and
- By collaborating and partnering with support networks to reduce stigma and help save lives.”
Location: PO Box 644 Westminster, CO 80036
Mission: “Youth.gov is the U.S. government website that helps you create, maintain, and strengthen effective youth programs. Included are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help you assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, and keep up-to-date on the latest, youth-related news.”