Suicide Prevention Tip 1: Speak Up If You’re Worried

If you spot the warning signs of solider, veteran or civilian suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help—the sooner the better.

Suicide Prevention Tip 2: Respond Quickly to Prevent an Attempt

If a soldier, veteran, friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it’s important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for suicide in the near future have a specific suicide PLAN, the MEANS to carry out the plan, a TIME SET for doing it, and an INTENTION to do it.

The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:

  • Do you have a suicide plan? (PLAN)
  • Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (MEANS)
  • Do you know when you would do it? (TIME SET)
  • Do you intend to take your own life? (INTENTION)

Suicide Prevention Tip 3: Offer Help and Support

If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care. Don’t take responsibility, however, for making your loved one well. You can offer support, but you can’t get better for a suicidal person. He or she has to make a personal commitment to recovery.

It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. Witnessing a loved one dealing with thoughts about ending his or her own life can stir up many difficult emotions. As you’re helping a suicidal person, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find someone that you trust—a friend, family member, clergyman, or counselor—to talk to about your feelings and get support of your own.

More Tips

  • It’s okay to be silent after you’ve started the conversation.
  • Give them room to breathe and time to get comfortable with the topic.
  • Be persistent. Don’t let one attempt turned back be the end.
  • Use good judgement but be persistent in your caring.
  • Suggest or show them options to talk to someone.
  • You’re not the expert, so don’t try to be. Others are ready to help you and use it.

Lift the Burden of Veteran Suicide

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Do’s and Dont’s – What To Say To a Suicidal Person


Be Yourself: Let the person know you care, that he/she is not along. The right words are often unimportant. If you are truly caring and concerned, your tone of voice will show it.

Listen: Let the suicidal person unload despair, vent their anger and frustration at their life and the events in it. No matter how negative the conversation seems, having it is a positive sign.

Be Sympathetic: Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about it. Open up your receptors and show your sympathy by being non-judgemental, patient and calm.

Offer Hope: Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feeling are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.

Take the Person Seriously: If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” This will not put ideas into their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it is okay for them to share their pain with you.

EXTRA HELP: If you are at a loss for how to keep the conversation going, or for what to say next, simply repeat that last few words that person said. For example: if they end with “I just don’t know what to do next.” You can say: “What to do next?” And then be quiet while they expand upon that question.


Blame Yourself For Their Feelings: You are not responsible for someone else’s actions.

Argue: Avoid saying things like: “You have so much to live for.” “Your suicide will hurt the ones you’re trying to protect.”

Promise To Tell No One: Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to seek out mental health experts and resources to save it. 

Act Shocked

Lecture on the Value of Life

Say Suicide is Wrong

Say It is Against God’s Plan

Offer To Fix Their Problems

About Once a Soldier

Once a Soldier’s mission is to help the families after a soldier suicide. Most soldier suicides are performed by veterans who have lost touch with the VA and their families won’t be getting any financial help from the government at this critical time. Even when they do, the support is limited. We aspire to fill or close that gap especially when it comes to the heartbreak of paying funeral costs. But this post aspires to be a place where someone in need RIGHT NOW can get some help for themselves or for a loved one who’s thinking about suicide.