Suicide Prevention


Before intervention find places for referral in your area. Ask the public health office, police department, counselors, churches, or hospitals. Is there a national or local suicide hotline? If the number is called can a person get through? Often such hotlines are swamped and someone may only get a busy signal.



Help people to open up and share their true feelings.


Although we may not be able to quantify a person’s intent to die, we can get a broad idea if the person is at high, moderate, or low risk.


Help them discover new ideas and resources to protect themselves.


Now let’s look closer at how to do each of these steps.


We want people to feel accepted and safe enough to open their hearts.
Take time for discussion of the seven questions on the Risk Ride Q-Card.
Value the person as a unique individual; give attention to their ideas and feelings.

Remember that Jesus is lovingly reaching out to them through you.
Enjoy them and be careful:

Don’t judge.
Avoid saying things that make them feel guilty or worse.
Validate their feelings but avoid normalizing suicide.


Question #6 on the Risk Ride Q-Card openly asks if they have thoughts of ending their life. If the answer is “yes”. More questions need to be asked:

  • Have you thought about how you would do it?
  • Have you tried before?
  • Do you have what you need to do it?
  • When and where would you do it?
  • Who would be first to find you?
  • Visualize them finding your body? How would they feel?
  • What would your family or people who know you think and feel?

Don’t worry, these questions won’t increase the person’s suicidal thoughts. Decades of research and clinical practice suggest that inquiries into suicidal thoughts will not make someone considering suicide more suicidal. Asking about suicide is essential in order to gauge the severity of the risk for suicide, and also the degree of desperation.

Besides answers to the above questions, there are other “red flags” that indicate the level of danger, they are:

  • Mood instability or disorders such as anxiety or depression, and substance abuse.
  • Loss: relationships, health, job, finances, property, displacement.
  • Previous attempt or family history of suicide.
  • Isolation: lack of community.

If a person has defined details about their suicide or even if they just have many red flags, they are likely in significant danger. Remember: A person at high risk must not be left alone! It is better to err on the side of safety; stay with someone until help arrives.


A. Caring Community.

Many people who are suicidal are emotionally isolated. Bringing caring, supportive people into their life offers them hope. Church life and support groups can become a powerful place for a new start. Invite them!

B. New Perspective.

Things are bad and always going to stay bad; or so potential victims think. Their viewpoint has narrowed to where they have a hard time seeing reality. They have forgotten there are good reasons for living. After they have told you of their pain and reasons to die, you could ask them; Right now can you think of any reasons why you should stay alive? Help them to detail these reasons.

You may also help them in problem-solving. New ideas and goals help them focus differently. Mention; “It sounds like your needs are not getting met. What do you think needs to happen for those needs to start getting met?”

Of course hearing of God’s love and the new life He gifts us with is the ultimate change of perspective in life. The Gospel has power to transform mind and emotion like nothing else!

C. Appropriate Support.

Refer them. Gently insist people in danger to see a counselor and in severe cases contact the police. Communicate you are not a mental health professional, but you are someone who cares and is there to help. Suicidal feelings need to be dealt with on a professional level. Only trained professionals should assume the care for the person. This is very important. Do not try to do too much by yourself. Under no circumstances should you keep a “secret” that could cause someone’s death. Helping them keep such a secret endangers them.

Once again: You cannot leave the person until the danger of suicide has subsided or they are in treatment.


People end up victims of suicide because their pain beats out their resources for coping with the pain. You are there to offer them some resources which will get them through, not just to live, but find eternal life! Christians have much to offer. Secular studies show that religion can be a powerful resource against suicide. The Christian viewpoint is especially advantageous in that we believe:

Life is a sacred gift, and not to be thrown away.
Suffering is not meaningless.
God loves us, has a good plan for us, and offers to carry us through the hardest of times.

Boldly consider: If suspicious authorities hear what we are really about and see how much we care, it just might cause them to look for ways to help us!

Lastly, don’t hesitate to remind the potential suicide victim of this: Suicide seeks relief from pain, but the terrible reality is that it actually multiplies pain. They themselves may “escape” but they will leave behind people who grieve, some even deeply for the rest of their lives…