Suicide Prevention: How to Help a Friend Who’s Hurting

Suicide is a scary topic. It’s uncomfortable and not something we’re used to discussing.

When you notice a co-worker or friend acting differently or talking about killing themselves, you might want to help, but not know what to do or say.

The worst thing any of us could do is nothing.

When you see someone struggling, three little letters – Q.P.R., can make all the difference.

Q.P.R. – Question, Persuade and Refer

“The very first thing you should do when you notice someone is acting differently and are concerned is to ask them what’s going on in their life,” says Matt Cerone, Administrative Project Manager for Miller Electric. “Be direct. Ask the QUESTION, ‘are you thinking about suicide?’”

Next, PERSUADE the person to agree to get help. Give them your full attention and let them know you care. Make a connection and listen to how they’re feeling.

Finally, REFER them to professional help. The best way to refer someone is to take them directly to get help. If you can, make a three-way call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable doing that, get the person to agree to see a professional and then help them make an appointment.

“Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking with the person about their pain, let your supervisor or HR know,” says Cerone. “The faster you intervene, the better your chance of helping someone out.”

The QPR approach is easy to remember and it works.

Pain is Nothing to be Ashamed Of

“We just finished going through the holiday season, which is a difficult time for many people and we got a few calls from employees dealing with some stressful situations,” says Matt. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We want people to know there’s free counseling help and hope for them through our employee assistance program.”

The program, which is offered through Heartland Family Services, helps Miller Electric employees experiencing difficulties that include:

  • Marriage problems
  • Job stress
  • Chemical abuse
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Suicide is preventable when people get treatment. With counseling and the support of others, a person can heal from their pain and engage with life.

Where to Get Help
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor. Help is free and available 24/7.


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