My loved one is having suicidal thoughts. What can I do?

If you are concerned that your loved one is in imminent danger of hurting themselves, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 where trained crisis workers are available 24/7 to guide you through options to help your loved one with their thoughts of suicide.  The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can also provide information on local resources, including treatment. 

  • To reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for veterans, select "1"
  • To reach Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio (Spanish) select "2"
  • Lifeline Options for Deaf + Hard of Hearing for TTY Users: use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988. You may also text 988, or chat function is available here at 988Lifeline.org
  • LGBTQ Youth & Young Adults: 
    • The Trevor Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth & young adults ages 13–24 and can be reached at (866)-488-7386 or text “START” to 678-678 

If texting is more comfortable for you, NAMI maintains a partnership with Crisis Text Line, available 24/7 in the United States. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741 and a trained crisis worker will respond within minutes. The Crisis Text Line is a free, confidential service that is available 24/7 in the United States.

Another option is to seek help at the nearest emergency room if your loved one is in danger of hurting themselves and unable to stay safe. 

You may wish to consult the  Risk of Suicide page on NAMI’s website that discusses how to help when a loved one shows signs of suicidal thoughts.  Also, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers helpful guidance on how to help When Someone is at Risk.

Additionally, Speaking of Suicide.com is a website for individuals and their loved ones and survivors that provides extensive information on resources for help.  In particular, the website provides extensive information in its Friends and Family section on how to talk with and help someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

Additional resources that may be of help:

  • American Association of Suicidology is a National clearinghouse/directory for suicide resources, statistics, etc. Maintains a support group finder  for attempt survivors and  loss survivors.
  • Know the Signs offers an interactive tool to help loved ones recognize the signs of suicidal ideation, along with a helpful guide for talking to someone about suicide.
  • Now Matters now is an online resource that provides support for coping with suicidal thoughts through teaching skills based on DBT; includes videos of personal stories.

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