What to Say

If someone you know is thinking about suicide, here are some things you can say to them.

Show You Care
Mention specific things you have noticed.

Say: “Hey, I’ve noticed these things and I just wanted to check in. How are you doing?”

Ask About Suicide
If you think someone is contemplating suicide, you need to ask them about suicide. If you can't ask the question, find someone who can.

Say: "Are you thinking about killing yourself?"

Ask About a Plan and Timeframe
Risk for suicide is higher when a plan is in place.

Say: "Do you know how you would kill yourself? Do you have access to that method? Do you have an idea of when you might do this?"

Be Supportive
Listen. Let the person know they are not alone and that you are there for them while they go through this.

Say: "We are going to get through this. You are not alone."

Seek Help

If someone you know has any warning signs please seek help. For assistance, you can come to the counseling center during walk-in hours for a consultation with a counselor. You can also call the Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Most importantly, please encourage your friend to seek counseling and provide them with the Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The best thing you can do is walk your friend to the counseling center during walk-in hours.

During the Fall and Spring semesters, Walk-In hours are:
        Monday - Friday: 8:30am-11am and 1pm - 4pm

If your friend is experiencing an emergency crises, you can take them to the Counseling Center any time during business hours and they will find a counselor who will see your friend. After hours or on weekends, you can call University Police at (828) 262-2150 and ask to speak to the on-call counselor.

Apply A.P.P.S. Cares

If you think someone you know is considering suicide,  apply the A.P.P.S. Cares Intervention. This intervention outlines the steps you should take when talking to a friend about suicide.

Approach and Acknowledge: Tolerate your own anxiety and awkwardness. Be specific about what you notice.

Probe: Show that you care by asking questions.

Promote Hope: Listen and let the student know that they are not alone.

Share Referrals: Share referrals with the student. Form a safety net. Share with your support network.

See what applying the APPS intervention looks like:

Play Video 2

Training opportunities, where you can learn and practice the A.P.P.S. Cares intervention are available. Click here for more information about attending a training or scheduling a training for your student group or department.

Download the Survive and Thrive Suicide Prevention Handbook for more information about the A.P.P.S. Cares intervention and how to prevent suicide.

Online training is also available: 

At-Risk Online Training Banner

How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.

  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.

  • Be non-judgmental. Don't debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture on the value of life.

  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.

  • Don't dare him or her to do it.

  • Don't act shocked. This will put distance between you.

  • Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.

  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.

  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.

  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Be Aware of Feelings

Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and thoughts they experience:

  • Can't stop the pain

  • Can't think clearly

  • Can't make decisions

  • Can't see any way out

  • Can't sleep, eat or work

  • Can't get out of depression

  • Can't make the sadness go away

  • Can't see a future without pain

  • Can't see themselves as worthwhile

  • Can't get someone's attention

  • Can't seem to get control

If you experience these feelings, get help! If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!

This content was developed by the American Association of Suicidology

7 Things Attempt Survivors Wish Their Families and Friends Knew 

When you find out that a loved one had attempted suicide, you may feel overwhelmed with questions. Why didn’t they come to me? What did I miss? And most perplexing, What do I do now? The Lifeline asked people to recall the aftermath of their attempts to give you some insight into what they wanted and needed from their friends and family following their darkest moments. While there’s no formula or one-size-fits-all answer, we hope learning from these attempt survivors will help you feel confident in supporting your loved one.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-TALK(8255). Suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Local and National Resources

Campus Resources
Counseling and Psychological Services Center
(828) 262-3180

University Police Department  
(828) 262-2150
Emergencies: (828) 262-8000

Dean of Students    
(828) 262-8284

Counseling for Faculty
and Staff 

(828) 262-4951

Community Resources
Daymark Recovery Services  
(828) 264-4357
After Hours/Crises Line: (828) 264-4357

Finding Hope: Survivors of Suicide Support Group 
(828) 262-1628

National Resources
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  
Chat: Click Here  

The Trevor Project    

At Risk: Suicide Prevention Training Simulation