Know What To Do - Preventing Suicide

Suicide and suicide prevention are important public health issues. With awareness and training, we can all play an important role in preventing suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy, and affects people of all ages and backgrounds.

This information is provided by Youth Services Bureau and Suicide Prevention Ottawa. For more information visit

Know What To Watch For

  • Changes in behaviours, friends, or nomal activities
  • Changes in physical health and/or hygiene
  • Low energy, poor concentration
  • Declining school performance
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Marked personality change
  • Increased risky behaviour
  • Prolonged negative mood or attitude
  • Preoccupation with appearance and/or body image
  • Comments about feeling worthless, helpless, or hopeless
  • Comments about suicide and/or dying


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Know What To Do

  • If there is an emergency, call 911, or go to the hospital
  • Call a local crisis line (even if you are not the person in crisis)
  • Stay calm and listen
  • Be sensitive to how the person is feeling
  • Never swear secrecy
  • If you have noticed warning signs, talk with the person about what you have observed
  • Educate yourself on local services that can help
  • For students, contact school principal and school counsellor
  • Give the person the crisis line phone numbers
  • Don't forget to take care of yourself - it's especially important when supporting others!

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Know What To Say

  • Say something! Don't be afraid of sounding clumsy
  • Be patient, compassionate, and non-judgemental
  • Ask the person how they are feeling and if they are thinking of suicide
  • If someone is suicidal, talking about suicide will not put them at greater risk
  • Really listen. Give 100% of your attention
  • Be sensitive, but direct
  • Let the person know you are concerned, and give examples of why
  • Example: "I've noticed that you've been not yourself lately, I'm concerned about you. Could we talk about it?"

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For more ressources, check out our How to Ask for Help page. 

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