Asking about suicidal thoughts lets us check if they have a plan. If they don’t, then asking won’t increase risk of them making one. But if they do have plan, it means you can help to keep them safe.
Suicidal thoughts can be frightening and isolating, and it can be a source of relief to be able to talk about these thoughts and feelings. The booklet Suicide.. living with your thoughts from SAMH may be helpful.
For more information, please read The art of conversation, a guide to talking, listening and reducing stigma around suicide and watch the Ask, Tell, Save a Life film made as part of Scotland's Suicide Prevention strategy.
You may also find information on NHS Inform page Offering support to someone you're worried is suicidal helpful. You can get advice on supporting someone else, or help for yourself, by contacting the organisations listed in our Find Help page under “suicide support”. There are useful guides and information from SAMH that may also be helpful.
Our friends at the Fire Fighters Charity have an excellent set of resources to help support suicide prevention, and also how to have conversations and how to start to cope after a suicide. The information contained in the different online toolkits is relevant to all.