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What do I say to someone in non crisis or crisis situation??

The hard questions to ask and techniques you can learn in our mental health classes.

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Are you going to kill yourself?

Are you thinking about suicide?

Holding Hands


I'm not sure what to say, and I want to help. Can you tell me specifically how you're feeling or what might be making you feel this way?



Thank you for telling me. Do you want me to listen or brainstorm solutions?

Some of these questions are hard to ask and that is why it is important to practice and get educated.

Other tips and tricks:
  1. Be blunt. Do not "beat around the bush". The brain likes clarity and it is important to remove our own insecurities and biases when we are trying to support someone else.
  2. If you ask the question about suicide, the next questions to ask are:
    • Have you acquired the means to kill yourself?
  3. When:
    • Have you decided when you will do it?
    • (This helps you find out if they have a plan and how much time you have to seek professional help. Even if they say next week or next month, do not wait to seek help, they are still in a crisis no matter the timeline given, now is the time)
  4. Where:
    • Have you decided where you will do it? 
  5. If they do NOT have a plan then maybe they just need someone to listen non-judgmentally and validate what they are feeling, so that they don't feel so alone.
  6. If they DO say yes and have a plan, plus give you all or some of the info above: Call, Text or Chat 988 or use one of the phone numbers below or call 911 (if they are in active crisis)
  7. And VERY IMPORTANT...tell the dispatcher that you need the "crisis team or mobile mental health crisis team" so they send out a unit that is trained for this situation. Give them all or as much information as you can so that they know who they should send out. 
  1. Do not play the blame or guilt game, do not threaten or try to make them feel bad about how they are feeling or what they are experiencing.  Avoid saying things like: "If you kill yourself, I'm not going to your funeral", "If you kill yourself, you are not going to heaven", "If you loved me, you wouldn't kill yourself", "If you loved your family, you wouldn't do this". "What are your kids going to do without you".
Why shouldn't we say things like this?
  • Because it is not about you, not about the family, the act of suicide is not selfish, the act is self less, it doesn't mean they don't love you or want to be with you.
  • It also doesn't always mean they don't want to be alive. Some times they just want the "pain" to end. Or maybe they don't know another way out of whatever situation they are currently in.
  • Sometimes talking about suicide is a way of expressing just how badly they are feeling.
  • Again it is not about you, it is about them, it is about what they are feeling or experiencing. 
  • Some of the reason's people choose to die by suicide may be because they feel like a burden, they feel like they have no other way out of whatever situation that they are currently facing. It can also be side effects from a mental health or substance use challenge. Or they want the pain to end and the only option they feel like they have is to end their life.
Things to say: 
  1. Can we call 988 together to get extra support, as I am not sure how to help?
  2. When is now a good time to call or text 988?
  3. Parrot phrase, use their words exactly to help their brain clarify if that is what they are really trying to say. 
Other pointers:
  1. It is okay if you, yourself are not okay to support someone. Be mindful of your own state and if you're in a place that you can help someone. If you're not, search out a coach or professional to help instead. 
  2. The best way to help others is to get educated yourself. Take one of our mental health classes or do further research. There are tons of resources under Trusted Resource Hub.
  3. Get connected with us, sign up for our community or newsletter or find us on any social media or YouTube. The Founder is always posting Live videos with tips and information.
  4. Most people do not want to die, they want the pain or the situation that they are currently facing to go away and they don’t know another way out. 
  5. Or they may be experiencing what we call a split or psychotic break and reality is no longer reality.
  6. Trying to talk someone out of killing themselves is never going to work. Listen nonjudgmentally, ask open ended questions and validate their feelings, are what they need. If they are talking to you, telling you about these thoughts, then they are seeking help, this is GOOD.
  7. Suicidal thoughts are time limited, if you can get them through the emotions of taking action on their thoughts and get them to professional help then you have a higher chance of saving their life. 
  8. More than likely the thoughts will come back, that is why it is so important to build a personal safety/self-care plan and ask their mental health care professional for case management, so that all the dots connect and they do not "fall through the cracks". Recovery is possible!
  9. Please know, if someone ends up dying by suicide, overdose or another mental health challenge, it is not your fault, we do the best we can with the resources that we have available and unfortunately people still die no matter what we do.
  10. Again, if for some reason they choose to take their life, I want you to know it is NOT your fault and sometimes no matter what we do, people die by suicide. 

Need Immediate Help In An Emergency?

If you or a loved one is in immediate danger calling 911 and talking with police may be necessary.

IMPORTANT: notify the operator that it is a mental health emergency and ask for police officers trained in crisis intervention or the "mobile crisis team".

Need Immediate Help In A Crisis?

Crisis Text Line – Text "HOME" to 741-741
Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message

Need More Resources? Check out our Trusted Resource Hub


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Do you have someone in your life that has lost a loved one to suicide or maybe you have? Or know someone who has attempted and you need more resources of how to help them?

Send them one of our BCC Hope Packages
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