Universiti Malaya – Wales

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Suicide Prevention: 5 Steps to Help

If you are concerned that someone you know is thinking about suicide or planning to attempt suicide, here are some steps that you can take to help.

1. Express your concerns
  • Let them know that you care about them and that they are not alone,
  • Be direct and open about suicide.
  • Be non-judgemental. Don’t criticise or blame them.
  • Never promise to keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret.
2. Ask about their plans
  • How much have they been thinking about suicide?
  • Do they have a specific plan on how to commit suicide?
  • Do they intend to carry out the plan?
The more frequent and intense the suicide ideation, and the more specific the plan is, the higher the risk the individual is going to commit suicide. Asking about suicidal thoughts or feelings won’t push someone into doing something self-destructive. In fact, offering an opportunity to talk about feelings may reduce the risk of acting on suicidal feelings.
3. Keep them safe
  • Explore other options other than suicide.
  • Ask about their reasons for living and dying and listen to their answers. Try to explore their reasons for living in more detail.
  • Plan a safety plan: do not leave them alone, remove their means of committing suicide (e.g. pesticides), distraction techniques such as: journaling, talk to someone, listen to music, relaxation
  • Don’t assume that they will get better without help or that they will seek help on their own.
4. Help them connect
  • Make an appointment with a mental health professional (GP, Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist or Registered Counsellor) and offer to go along.
  • If the risk is imminent, go to the government hospital Emergency Room. Private hospitals in Malaysia do not handle suicide emergency cases.
5. Follow-up
  • After you have connected them with the immediate support systems, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they are doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.
  • Supporting a person who is suicidal can be very stressful. Be sure to care for yourself as well, you can talk to a trusted friend, counsellor or anyone who can offer support about what you’ve been through and how you feel about it.