With another completed suicide in the news, I'm getting a lot of questions. Most of them are, "How can we get people help when they need it!?!?" I want to offer three life-saving ideas here...

First, Crisis Text Line. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text CONNECT to 741741. Yes, there's a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), but sometimes it's just too hard to talk to people face to face or voice to voice. Text CONNECT to 741741, and you'll get an automated reply telling you they're going to connect you, and please tell them some more. Then you'll be connected to a trained volunteer. Trained to help you, trained to hear you, trained to bring things from a hot mess down to a cool place. 

Second, schedule a Program with NAMI Southeast Minnesota

  • Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course teaching you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) This is a program I've presented many times and love the way it teaches how to recognize the signs of a suicide crisis, and how to ask the big question (Are you thinking about suicide?), and how to get them help. QPR is a 60-minute, evidence-based program that saves lives.

Third, you. You and I. Everyone. Listen. Listen to people, hear people. It can be hard because we're so programmed to get through the day, but every human interaction can have so much more power when we really hear each other.  Easier said than done, I know.

A final thought, pleas know, no matter the outcome, you are not responsible when a person completes suicide. While I hope you'll do everything in your power to be kind, compassionate, and helpful, if you just can't do it..it's OK. Sometimes there's just too much past in the present, sometimes you're going thru crisis yourself. Sometimes you just can't, and that's real and legitimate.