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Suicide Threats: What to Do - Topic Overview

If the suicide threat seems real, with a specific plan and the means at hand, follow these steps:

  • Call 911, or the police if 911 is not available.
  • 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 27, 2012
    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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