Suicide First Aid

Suicide First Aid

Particular outreach and compassion ministries will reach people who are at risk of harm and may experience suicidal thoughts. If you think that your teams require specific training, I would highly recommend looking into Papyrus's offer. The following information is not a replacement for this sort of training, but may help until such training can be completed.

If you are reading this and need help, please reach out to someone who can help.

If you think someone is in immediate danger, call 999
If needed, and if it is safe to do so, conduct emergency first aid
Do not leave that person alone until you have help

ALARMS Conversation Framework and ASIST's CPR

You can use these 2 frameworks alongside each other. Try not be afraid about asking someone if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are contemplating suicide. Asking someone is not going to make them more likely to go through with it. Being open and direct with questions can help people get the support they need before it’s too late.

As you are going through these questions try and remain calm, non-judgemental and loving. Feedback to them what you have heard, and help them identify hope (friends, overcoming previous difficulties, being brave to open up now).

Reassure them that them that they are not alone and put some actions in place to help keep them safe for now. Inform them that you will have to share the conversation with a professional who can help make sure that they get the right help (safeguarding/pastoral support).
In the meantime, can they make an appointment with a GP? If they already get support, can they talk with those services about additional help?

Complete a safeguarding referral for any kind of conversation around suicide, even if you think they are low risk. This may be the piece of the jigsaw which can make sense of the rest of the picture and ensure the right support is in place. After this, I would make sure that you get support, as these conversations can be draining and challenging. It's important that we look after ourselves so that we can best support others.

Remember – we can only help people to the best of our abilities. We can do prevention work, put support in place etc, but we will not be always be able to stop every death by suicide.