What should I do if I think my family member is considering suicide?
- Talk to your family member about how they are feeling. Asking about suicide won’t cause or increase suicidal thoughts, or cause the person to act on them. It may help them feel less isolated and scared. It may also allow you to see how you can help.
- Let the person know you are there to listen, and encourage them to speak to their health care team, if they have one. If you are concerned that they are feeling more depressed or not acting like themselves, you can contact the team yourself if your family member has given them consent to speak to you.
- Encourage and help your family member to stay away from alcohol and other drugs.
- Create a support network of family and friends who can accompany your family member to their health care appointments, or to other places they find stressful.
- Keep a copy of your loved one’s “safety plan” (if there is one, and they are willing to share it), so you know what steps to take if they are feeling more suicidal.
- Keep crisis line numbers handy (program them into your family member’s phone, and your own). See the last section of this pamphlet for numbers to call.
- Obtain a Form 2 from a justice of the peace if you are concerned that your family member is a risk to themself or others. This form allows the police to take the person to hospital for assessment. At the hospital, a physician will assess the person to see if they should be put on a Form 1—if so, the person may be kept in hospital for up to 72 hours for emergency assessment.