Suicide is Preventable

Suicide is Preventable


  • Suicide is preventable. Most people experience suicidal thoughts during their lifetime but don’t end their life by suicide.
  • Suicide thoughts can often be intense and severe but only for short brief periods and hence can be overcome.
  • One can help to overcome these thoughts and urges using “effective techniques that are easy to apply” OR “use easily applicable techniques that are effective”

Know the FACTS about Suicide:

  • Warning signs are a cry for Help!
  • Most often people thinking about suicide show warning signs for days, weeks and even months.
  • Looking for these warning signs may help in identifying persons that could be contemplating suicide.
  • Warning signs can be easily identified if one is aware of what they are.
  • Warning signs can be missed as they don’t appear to be directly related to suicide.


Working together to prevent suicide!

How can I help myself or others who are contemplating suicide?

  • I want to help someone thinking about suicide OR Can I help prevent suicide?
  • I’m not a mental health expert or therapist!
  • Any person can prevent suicide
  • Everyone person’s unique abilities are strengths that can be used to help someone in distress
  • Irrespective of one’s qualifications, professional background or personal experience any person is capable of preventing suicide and help those contemplating suicide
  • Motivation and desire to help is the single requirement to help prevent suicide
  • Essential to helping someone is being aware of and getting an understanding of what aspects suggest a greater risk in that person, what are the warning signs present and what immediate support is available.

One can use any of the following STRATEGIES TO PREVENT SUICIDE

FEEL and TACKLEstrategy to overcome suicide

SELF HELP STRATEGIES helping oneself overcome suicide

“Effective techniques that are easy to apply” OR “use easily applicable techniques that are effective” to overcome suicidal thoughts and urges include the following:

  • Postpone/ Pause
  • DISTRACT- activities that helps to divert the thoughts
  • Engage in hobbies
  • Express- write/ speak out
  • Seek help

PAUSE&LIFT strategy



Understanding suicide warning signs, risk factors and protective factors

What are Warning Signs or ALARM SIGNALS of Suicide?


Common misunderstandings about suicide are –

  • Is that it is very hard to recognize a person who is thinking about suicide.
  • Suicides occur suddenly with any warning.

COMMON WARNING SIGNS (especially when such behaviors in the person have not been commonly noted before or have been worse in nature than before)



Factors that increase the chances of suicide in a person are RISK factors while factors that decrease the chances of suicide in a person are PROTECTIVE factors.

  1. Awareness and identification of RISK factors can help understand how high this risk
  1. Understanding PROTECTIVE factors can help prevent or reduce suicide risk



IT is ESSENTIAL that If you notice warning signs in a person you should “immediately or not hesitate” to approach the person and start a conversation to determine if they are posing a suicide risk.

FEEL AND TACKLE STRATEGY/ APPROACH are general principles to use that permit the person to be more forthcoming.

  1. How should I assess the risk for suicide?
  • It is a myth that asking directly to patients about suicide induces the suicidal risk.
  • Most people thinking about suicide are relieved when someone is willing to talk to them about it!  This is because they are scared and hence don’t talk about having such thoughts. Most people also don’t want to die but are seeking help or unsure about it.
  • The above is a critical aspect that permits engagement and discussion with the person.
  • The best way to find out whether individuals have suicidal thoughts is to ask them.
  • Though, not easy to ask a person about his or her suicidal ideas it is helpful to lead into the topic gradually.
  • More often you do this with people the More confident you will become to do this.
  • Most people initially would minimize or dismiss any such questions…. PERSISTENCE is ESSENTIAL… it shows the person that you care, are willing to give time and keen to help.

Some useful questions to lead into the topic are:

  • I’m very worried about you (EXPRESS CONCERN AND INDICATE THAT YOU CARE)
  • I’ve noticed that you have been saying (verbal warning signs) or doing (behavioural warning signs) things that are very worrisome or seem troubling….
  • I’m concerned for you……
  • There appears to be something that is bothering you… seem (angry/sad/restless/not in regular touch)
  • I would like to understand what is bothering you……
  • Do you feel sad?
  • Do you feel alone?
  • Do you feel no one cares about you?
  • Do you feel that life is not worth living?


  1. How to enquire about risk and protective factors:


Once you have been able to encourage the person to share their immediate cause for distress

  • You should systematically check on the presence of each risk factor listed above.
  • You should also check on the protective factors of the person.

A good approach to check on the risk and protective factors present in a person is to bring these aspects during your conversation with them

Generally, allow the person to speak as much as they want to, which often provides a lot of information about suicide related risk and protective factors that the person has.

Most often, a person may on their own mention some risk factors or protective factors.

This is the most effective strategy and often necessary to lead gradually later into the topic of suicide so that the person feels comfortable enough to speak about suicide openly.

You should always ask for any factors that they themselves have NOT mentioned.

  • Have you been in a similar situation before when you felt like this? How did you overcome the problem before OR What did you do at that time?
  • Are there any other difficulties in your life?
  • Have you been having problems in your relationships (family/ personal/ friends)
  • Have you ever tried ending your life in the past?
  • Did anyone in your family or known people commit suicide?
  • Do you feel like there is no hope in the future (hopelessness)?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use any substance to cope with your current problems?
  • Have you been suffering from any physical health problems?
  • Have you been or are currently on treatment for any mental illness?
  • How was your early childhood?


  1. How to ask a suicide question?

  • It is preferable to Use ‘Normalizing questions’ first to start with. Then if required indirect or direct questions on suicidality can be asked.

Example: Normalizing question (makes the person feel that they are not the only person to think of suicide and that many people have such thoughts).

  • Many People when disturbed/ troubled by such problems (OR STATE ANY OF ABOVE WARNING SIGNS) commonly think of suicide/ dying/ ending their life, is this something you’re thinking of or have thought of?


 Suicide Prevention Helplines: