Additional contact numbers:
For callers in their teens or early 20's:
Trevor Helpline (24/7): Toll-free: 1-866-488-7386 (LGBTQ focused support)
Not LGBTQ specific, but affirming & supportive, available 24/7:
For callers older than early 20's:
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) OR 988
(call or text available)
Online chat: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat
CANADA ONLY: 833-456-4566
SUICIDE ASSESSMENT MODEL:
Conversations rarely work like a flow chart, you can use the pieces of the assessment model that works the best for the individual conversation.
You say: "I'm hearing you say (describe the self-destructive behaviors, signs of suicide you are hearing). Are things so bad that you are thinking about suicide?" (use the word SUICIDE).
If the caller answers NO, you say: "I'm glad to hear you say that. But if you were, we could definitely talk about that."
IF THE CALLER ANSWERS YES, use whichever questions are needed (you don’t have to use all 5) and talk about each one before moving on to the next.
1. Do you have a plan?
2. Do you have the means?
3. Have you set a time?
4. Have you attempted suicide before?
5. Have you done something to hurt yourself now?
The more "yes" answers you receive,
the higher the degree of suicide risk.
After working through the model:
ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS: "Tell me what you are feeling that is making you feel like committing suicide."
STEER TOWARDS THE PAIN: The caller frequently cannot or will not talk to anyone else about their strongest emotions.
AFFIRM THE CALLER'S FEELINGS: "I'm really sorry that you are feeling this way. This must be very difficult for you."
Remember, the goal is to defuse the intensity of the caller's feelings, to give them a chance to vent and be heard. You can't put their life back together for them -- and you can't save their lives for them either. You don't have that kind of power!
When possible use near future-focused language. It can help diffuse suicidal feelings for the present moment and allow a caller to have an opportunity to plan their next move, without suicide. Focus primarily on the near future specifically, as it can be too stressful for most suicidal callers to focus on things too far in advance.
“Can you think of something that might help you get through the next hour?”
“What’s something that has helped you in the past when you have felt (Suicidal/anxious/depressed/overwhelmed/etc.)?
“Can you think of something that you might be able to do tomorrow?”
“Would you like to brainstorm some things with me that you can do once we’re off the phone?”
IF CALLER FINDS IT DIFFICULT TO THINK OF THINGS TO DO NOW/LATER:
“If you’d like to, you can take a couple of minutes to just breathe – I’ll stay on the line so when you feel ready to talk. Take your time.”