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Responding to People at Risk for Suicide

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Responding to people at risk for suicide is never easy. But you can be prepared by knowing who to contact in your workplace if a co-worker is in distress or suicidal. Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and HR department are the appropriate first points of contact. However, if you are experiencing a crisis, call 911 immediately.


How to Take Action if You Encounter Someone at Immediate Risk for Suicide

If a co-worker is…

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

Take these steps immediately:

  • Call 911 if the danger for self-harm seems imminent.
  • Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
  • Contact the EAP or HR department, and they will help you decide what to do. Provide any background information that may be helpful.
  • Continue to stay in contact with the person and pay attention to how they are doing.


How to Reach Out to Someone Who May Be at Risk for Suicide:

To help other co-workers who may be at risk for suicide, you can take the following steps, depending on what feels most comfortable for you:

  • Talk with your EAP or HR department about your concerns.
  • Reach out the person:
    • Ask how they’re doing.
    • Listen without judging.
    • Mention changes you’ve noticed in your co-worker’s behavior. Say you’re concerned about their emotional well-being.
    • Suggest they talk with a mental health professional from the EAP or HR department. Offer to help arrange an appointment and go with the person.
  • Continue to stay in contact with the person and pay attention to how they’re doing.

Adapted from

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