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What to Do If You Think a Person Is Having Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide is something that is still a taboo topic for many of us. However, when you think someone is considering suicide, or they have stated as such, they need to be taken seriously and without judgment. While a history of suicidal threats can be one of the strongest risk factors as to whether or not a person intends on taking their own life, there are questions you can ask the person to gauge their seriousness and potentially help them get treatment.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends asking the person directly if he or she:

  1. Is having suicidal thoughts or ideas
  2. has a plan to do so
  3. has access to lethal means

If you think the person might try to harm him or herself based on the answers given, then act. Note that if a person does have access to lethal means, it does not necessarily mean they will commit suicide. However, they should not be left alone and you should not try to handle the situation yourself. There are many resources available if you or a loved one find yourself in this situation to help you.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, to be connected to the nearest available crisis center. Other suicide prevention and substance abuse resources include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Mental Health Services Locator or the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.

As a part of TeamHealth’s commitment to physical and mental well-being, we invest in programs to enhance available resources through LiveWell WorkLife services. These health resources and personalized support services help our clinical and non-clinical associates find the balance, support and care needed to live the healthiest lives possible. For more information on this program visit our clinician wellness page, and to sign up for services, contact