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December 19, 2014
by Marti Wormuth, MA

What Do I Do if Someone Threatens Suicide?

December 19, 2014 04:55 by Marti Wormuth, MA  [About the Author]

Suicide is one of those things that many people don't like to talk about because it's a very painful thing to talk about. Some of us know people who have thought about suicide, or we may know someone who has attempted or succeeded at it. Because of that, it's more important than ever for us to understand how we can help people who are struggling through this painful thing. In this article, we're going to look at the reasons that someone would consider suicide and how you can help. 

Why Would Someone Threaten Suicide? 

Suicide is one of those things that a lot of people really go through in their lives. We live in a world that is full of pain, but that doesn't mean that we have to give up. There's a lot to live for, but in some cases, that doesn't feel like it's enough for people to keep going. Here are some of the main reasons that people contemplate suicide:

  • Struggle with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. 
  • Loss of a loved one, a cherished pet, or someone else that had significance in their life.
  • Physical illness, such as cancer, a chronic disorder, or something else that leaves the person in constant physical pain. 
  • The inability to function properly.
  • A loss of hope, which can happen for a number of different reasons.
  • A feeling of disconnection with others.
  • Trouble in relationships, including with family, friends, or others. 
  • Chemical or hormonal imbalances. 
  • Loss of a job or school opportunity. 
  • Feeling "lost" with no where to go. 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or life. 

These obviously aren't the only reasons, and there are hundreds of thousands more that could come up - they all depend on the individual, what the individual is going through, and how they may be set up. The issue is, honestly, anything could set someone off to threaten suicide. The issue is, in some cases, it's a cry for help, and in other cases, they are totally serious and they're ready to do it whenever they get the chance. Because of this, we need to take every threat seriously, whether they are actually about to do it or not. It could end up saving someone's life, which is precious. That's why it's important to learn exactly what to do, which is what we are going to talk about in the next section of this blog post. 

What Should I Do If Someone Threatens Suicide? 

There are a few steps that you should go through when someone you know has threatened to commit suicide. Here are the main things that you need to and can do so that your friend or family member stays safe, no matter what type of intentions that they may have for ending their life. Here are some of the main ways that you have to evaluate the situation and what you can do in order to make sure that they do not go through with any plan or idea that they may have in mind with the incident in question. 

Ask them if they have a plan, if the plan can actually kill them, and if they would be able to pull it off (as in, do they have the tools for it, etc). This is important, because if they are feeling suicidal, and they don't have a plan, the matter is a lot less urgent than if they have a way that they plan on doing it. Many times, if they're serious about doing it, they will have a plan and will likely tell you exactly how they plan on moving forward with it. If this is the case, you need to get them help as soon as possible, because time is of the essence and they could be in a lot of trouble that you won't be able to help them turn back from on the other side. Talk to them calmly, don't get angry, just ask them and see what their responses are in order to gauge exactly what is going on and what you need to do in order to get them the help that they need to get through this part of their life. 

Help them to get in touch with the proper people so that they can get the help that they need in order to get through this painful part of their lives. Sometimes, you will need to call the authorities or a hospital in order to get your friend or loved one what they need, especially if there is a plan that they are talking about going forward with. There are a lot of emergency numbers that you can call, and there are plenty of people that can help you get in touch with the proper people in order for your loved one to get the care that they need and so that they can be safe. Even if they resist, try and do this for them - they may be upset at first, but they will thank you later. 

Don't judge them, belittle them, or abandon them, harass them about the intentions that they may have. If they feel like you are judging them, they aren't going to come to you again. They came to you about their feelings, because they felt like you were someone safe, and because of that, they felt that it was important to tell you what was going on. Be patient with them, show them love, don't make them feel as if they are less of a person just because they are dealing with this painful, terrible thing in their lives. Be supportive and help lift them up, don't tear them further down. 

Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that they are valid, and that you understand why they are acting as they are. By acknowledging their feelings as valid, they will be more likely to talk to you and more likely to reach out for help. Sometimes, people struggling with depression and other similar issues need to hear that what they are feeling is valid and that it is okay to hurt. This can play a huge step in the healing process and they may be more likely to trust you when you try and help them find the help that they need in order to thrive in the rest of their lives. It can be life saving, literally, if you do this. 

Try and help them to feel hopeful, so that they don't feel like this is the end of the show, and to give them a reason to keep going. Hope is one of the hardest things for those who are considering suicide. Hope is something that is often lost during this time in a person's life, and it's hard to see through the pain that happens. Even if it's a little bit of hope, that helps someone to feel as if they are not alone. It can be something as simple as "what are you looking forward to tomorrow?" If they can think of one thing, it has the possibility of giving them the hope that they need to get through all of the days that they may have ahead. 

Actively listen and talk to them about what they're feeling, so that they know you care and that you understand what is going on. Ask them to clarify their feelings. Repeat things that they say to you back to them. By showing that you are really are listening and care about what they are saying, they will feel as if they are valuable and you may be the one to give them that little bit of hope that they need in order to get through the day. You may also be able to help them vocalize their feelings and think them through more clearly, which can also help them get what they need in order to start the path toward health and wholeness once again. 

So, if you or someone you know is considering suicide, you need to get help. There are lots of resources out there that you can use in order to make sure that you can get the help you need. Suicide is not the answer to any pain that you are in, and there is hope for you if you know where to find resources. Here on our page, we have emergency resources and therapists that you can get in touch with in order to get started on a path to healing. Don't feel like you have to go through this alone - get the help that you need and start the healing today. You have a whole life ahead of you. 


Fleener, P. (2013). How to Help a Suicidal Person. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from

Kreger, R. (2010, March 11). What to do when feeling manipulated by suicide threats. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (n.d.). Get Help For Someone Else. Retrieved July 4, 2014, from

Psych Central. (n.d.). What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal? Retrieved July 4, 2014, from

Reach (2014, March 27). Is your friend thinking of suicide? Retrieved July 4, 2014, from

About the Author

Marti Wormuth, MA Marti Wormuth, MA

Marti has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s in Communication Studies. Her favorite activities include reading, playing games, and hanging out with the students at her church. Marti volunteers with the youth ministry at her church as a teacher and mentor. Because of this, she recently started another degree, her graduate certificate in student ministries. She considers her current graduate work to be a stepping stone to becoming a youth pastor or a published author.

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