Help someone who’s feeling suicidal or who you believe may be suicidal...


It can come as a massive shock when a loved one, friend or even a stranger tells you that they are feeling suicidal.  It may have left you feeling confused about what to do or how to help them - but please rest assured there are services and resources available and we will help guide you through them.


Firstly - it is of the utmost importance that you take the person seriously.  It is a myth that people who talk about suicide are only looking for attention.  If an individual has built up the courage to speak with you about ending their own life, they are serious about it.  


Be patient, kind and reassuring and help to usher them through what is one of the lowest points of their life.


There are a number of services available that you can help refer them to including us.


Let us help you here at Talk To Tom we can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061 or via Whats App.  To launch a chat now click here.


At Talk To Tom, we like to refer to the QPR method of suicide intervention and prevention.  QPR is a US-based principle by the QPR Institute brought to Ireland for the first time by Talk To Tom.  It stands for Question, Persuade and Respond.   It can be applied for use with someone you know is facing a suicidal crisis or for someone you suspect might be thinking of ending their life.

The First Step: QUESTION:


Tips for asking the suicide question:


  • If in doubt, don’t wait, ask the question

  • If the person is reluctant, be persistent

  • Talk to the person alone in a private setting

  • Allow the person to talk freely

  • Give yourself plenty of time

  • Have your resources handy; phone numbers, counsellor’s name and any other information that might help


The Less Direct Approach: Ask questions such as ...


  • “Have you been unhappy lately?”

  • “Have you been very unhappy lately?”

  • “Have you been so very unhappy lately that you’ve been 
     thinking about ending your life?”

  • “Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?”


Direct Approach: Ask questions such as ...


  • “You know, when people are as upset as you seem to be,
      they sometimes wish they were dead.  I’m wondering if
      you’re feeling that way, too?”

  • “You look pretty down, I wonder if you’re thinking
      about suicide?”

  • “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”



How NOT to ask the suicide question:


  • “You’re not thinking of killing yourself, are you?”

  • “You wouldn’t do anything stupid would you?”

  • “Suicide is a dumb idea.  Surely you’re not thinking about suicide?”


Step 2 - PERSUADE - How to Persuade a person to stay alive:


  • Listen to the problem and give them your full attention

  • Remember, suicide is not the problem, only the solution to a perceived insolvable problem

  • Do not rush to judgment

  • Offer hope in any form, reassure them, be kind


 Then Ask:


  • “Will you go with me to get help?”

  • “Will you let me help you get help?”

  • “Will you promise me not to kill yourself
      until we’ve found some help?”


Step Three - Refer - How To Refer Someone To Get The Help They Need


  •  Suicidal people often believe they cannot be helped, so you may have to do more.

  • You can ask their permission to call us here at Talk To Tom and make an appointment.  We will see them as soon as possible – and you can even bring them to our Clinical centre on St Michaels Rd, Gorey.  Our service is totally free. We also offer support and advice to friends and family.

  • The best referral involves taking the person directly to someone who can help.

  • The next best referral is getting a commitment from them to accept help, then making the arrangements to get that help.

  • The third best referral is to give referral information and try to get a good faith commitment not to attempt suicide. Any willingness to accept help at some time, even if in the future, is a good outcome.



For Effective QPR Intervention Remember:


  • Say: “I want you to live,” or “I’m on your side...we’ll get through this.”

  • Get Others Involved.  Ask the person who else might help. Family? Friends? Brothers? Sisters? Pastors? Priest? Imam? Rabbi? Bishop? Physician?

  • Follow up with a visit, a phone call or a card, and in whatever way feels comfortable to you, let the person know you care about what happens to them.  Caring may save a life.


To find out more about the full QPR Training Course click here.


Please remember:


If you feel the person is an immediate danger to themselves please contact the emergency services on 999 or Caredoc 1850 334 999.


If a person has contacted you via phone, or text and informed you that they intended to end their life and you can no longer reach them - it is important that you reach out to the emergency services.  


It is important to remember your own well-being at this time too.  Hearing news that a friend or loved one has been experiencing suicidal ideation is scary.  If you need to talk to someone following the even - you can contact us individually also.


someone who is suicidal

Information on how to help someone who you fear or know to be facing a suicidal crisis


someone who is self harming

Information on how to help someone who you suspect or know to be self-harming


me I am suicidal

Practical advice and information to help someone who is feeling suicidal  


me I am self harming

Practical advice and information to help someone who is self-harming