Worried About Someone?
In an Emergency
If you or someone you know is acutely suicidal call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or, in the metropolitan Birmingham area, call (205) 323-7777.
OR: Call 911
OR: Go to an emergency room.
DO NOT LEAVE SOMEONE WHO IS ACUTELY SUICIDAL ALONE.
You can also help a friend or family member who is not acutely suicidal but vulnerable by calling 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or (205) 323-7777.
Question, Persuade, Refer Gatekeeper Training
ADPH has partnered with the Alabama Suicide Prevention Resource Center and crisis centers around the state to offer suicide prevention training called QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Training. Like, CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in a suicide crisis. Participants learn how to identify a person in crisis, ask the question, and where to refer them to help.
It is a 60 to 90 minute training for the general public and teaches participants the warning signs for suicide and the three-step QPR method.
In QPR Gatekeeper Training, participants will:
- Understand suicide as a national and local health problem
- Understand the common myths and facts surrounding suicidal behavior
- Learn how to ask about potential suicidal intent
- Learn how to listen and persuade someone to get help
If you are interested in scheduling a training, please contact Brandi Pouncey at 334-206-5893.
- Depression is an illness. Encourage your loved ones to seek well-qualified medical help and counseling.
- If you are worried about a friend or family member, ask if he/she is suicidal. Never assume that he/she would tell you if they were feeling suicidal.
- Notice changes in your loved one, such as altered mood, altered eating or sleeping habits, unkempt appearance, withdrawal, agitation, risky behavior, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, etc.
- Take note of any losses or setbacks that your loved one has had (loss of a job, separation/divorce/breakup, loss of a friend, poor functioning, loss of identity, a humiliation or defeat, etc.) and be aware that this may be a vulnerable time.
- Promote the option of counseling and help-seeking for someone about whom you are worried. Talking about his/her feelings of helplessness or hopelessness helps. Even if your loved one won't call a local crisis center or a counselor, you may do so in order to get ideas and support for this difficult challenge.
- Stay with someone who is feeling self-injurious. Do not let them be alone.
- Avoid using guilt as leverage when someone you know is feeling suicidal ("Don't you want to live for your family?") Instead focus on what is at the root of the pain and hopelessness. Take him or her seriously.
- Develop a list with your loved one, or with the help of your mental health professional, of at least ten things that would be self-soothing and safe as alternatives to risky behavior.
- Insist that your mental health professional meet with your loved one at least weekly or more often for at least four to six months from the time of a first attempt if there has been an earlier attempt.
- Insist that your mental health professional meet with your loved one at least weekly if they have recently been put on a medication to alleviate symptoms. Newfound energy after depression can often be a trigger for impulsive actions before the hopelessness has been resolved.
- Notice if your loved one has a sudden change in mood, affect, actions, or message. Report this to your mental health professional or doctor.
- Do not assume that if your loved one begins to seem happy or euphoric that he or she is out of risk. Euphoria may be a sign that a decision has been made to yield to suicide. Report your concerns to your mental health professional.
- Watch for signs of your loved one giving cherished possessions away or attending to important legal papers.
- Listen for messages that may be a threat couched in an unclear statement, such as "Nobody will miss me if I'm gone" or "I'm planning on going away" or "Things will never get better."
- If your loved one seems vulnerable, try to remove access to alcohol or drugs, if possible.
- Remove guns and weapons from your loved one who is vulnerable, if possible.
- Help your loved one to achieve basic activities of daily living, such as eating three meals a day, bathing and grooming, taking a walk, sleeping or napping, etc., if possible.
- Create as much structure as possible, limit downtime or alone time.
- Have the phone numbers available for your local ambulance service, your mental health center, your local crisis center, and the poison control center with you at all times.
- Post Alabama's poison control center's number (1-800-462-0800) or poison control at Children's Hospital (1-800-292-6678).
- Take your loved one to the emergency room if they are feeling suicidal.
- Take care of yourself and don't go it alone if you are caring for someone who is at risk for suicide.
Page last updated: April 10, 2017