From the American Association of Suicidology, here are 10 ways to be helpful to someone you know who is suicidal:
1. Be aware. Learn the warning signs.
2. Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support. Be willing to listen.
3. Ask if s/he is thinking of suicide. [Ask if there is a plan.]
4. Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
5. Don’t dare him/her to do it. [Especially not online – you don’t know when someone is serious.]
6. Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.
7. Don’t ask “why.” This encourages defensiveness.
8. Don’t act shocked. This creates distance.
9. Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
10. Take action! Remove means! [Including large supplies of medications, and weapons.] Get help from individuals or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Kiume, S. (2006). Suicide Prevention. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 7, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2006/04/05/suicide-prevention/