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Mental Health Center

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Suicidal Thoughts or Threats - Home Treatment

If you are thinking about suicide, talk to someone about your feelings. It is important to remember that there are people who are willing and able to talk with you about your suicidal thoughts. With proper treatment, most suicidal people can be helped to feel better about life.

People for you to consider talking with include:

  • A family member, friend, or spiritual adviser.
  • Your health professional, such as a doctor or counselor.
  • Other mental health resources, such as a community mental health agency or employee assistance program.
  • Your local suicide hotline or the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255. You can also find information at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Tips for family and friends

You may be able to help someone who is considering suicide.

  • If the suicide threat seems real, and the person has a specific suicide plan:
    • Call 911 (or the police if 911 is not available) in order to prevent the person from carrying out the threat.
    • Consider your own safety. If you are in a safe environment and the person will not harm you:
      • Stay with the person, or ask someone you trust to stay with the person, until help arrives.
      • Don't argue with the person or make statements like "It's not as bad as you think," and don't challenge the person by saying "You're not the type to commit suicide." Arguing with the person may only increase his or her feelings of being out of control of his or her life.
      • Talk about the situation as openly as possible. Tell the person that you don't want him or her to die or to harm another person. Show understanding and compassion.
    • If you think that someone you know has made a suicide plan, call your health professional.
      • Your health professional may be able to help identify a mental health specialist and arrange an appointment for a person you think is considering suicide. An appointment with your health professional may not be needed.
      • If you are not able to talk with your health professional, call your local suicide hotline or the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255. You can also find information at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
      • Once a treatment plan has been developed, you may be able to assist the person get the help he or she needs.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur before you see your health professional:

  • The warning signs for the suicide threat, such as having a plan for committing suicide, are real.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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