The Historic Horseshoe

How do I help?

Please consider the following:
Show you care, connect on a feeling level, listen.
  • “I’m concerned about you and noticed you haven’t been sleeping, eating, going to class, etc.”
  • “How are you feeling?”
  • Reflect back their feelings and paraphrase:  “What I hear you say is that you are in a great deal of pain and feel hopeless.”
  • “I’m glad you called.”
  • Listen with respect.  Individuals in distress want understanding and care.
Ask about suicide directly.
  • “Sometimes when people feel sad, they have thoughts of killing themselves.  Have you had such thoughts?”
  • “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
  • “Have you considered suicide?”  “How would you go about it?”  “When would you do that?”
  • Remember, asking about suicide does NOT put the idea in people’s minds.
Get help.  Explore options.  Offer resources.
  • “What would help now?”   “Who can, who usually helps?”   “How can I help?”
  • Get assistance.  Avoid trying to be the only lifeline for this person.  Seek out resources even if it means breaking a confidence.
  • “How would you feel about going to the Counseling Center?  Let’s call right now.  I’ll walk over with you to see a counselor.” 
  • Counseling and Human Development Center, 803-777-5223, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Byrnes Building, 7th floor.  After hours, listen to the voice message for emergency numbers.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
  • Call 911 or 7-9111 if this is an acute crisis.
What Not To Do
  • Do not promise to keep the person’s thoughts of suicide a secret.
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Do not offer simple solutions.
  • Do not suggest drugs or alcohol as a solution.