How to help someone who may be considering suicide

Laura Weber, LMFT Crisis Counselor Manager, Crisis Connection, Canvas Health
Daniel Mrotek, LPCC Crisis Counselor Supervisor, Crisis Connection, Canvas Health


Canvas Health operates Crisis Connection, the suicide prevention phone and text lines in Minnesota. If you’re worried someone you love may be in danger of suicide and you don’t know what to do, call us at 612-379-6363 or 1-866-379-6363. Text us at 61222 “Life.”  Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which we also answer, at 1-800-273-8255. In all situations involving imminent danger, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department.

What leads to suicide?
If you are concerned that a person you know may be suicidal, look out for a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Warnings include:
Talk- statements about killing themselves. Feelings of hopelessness, feeling trapped without options, expressing “no reason to live” or sense of purpose, feeling they are experiencing unbearable pain, feeling they are a burden to others

Behavior- increased use of substances, increased reckless behaviors, isolating self from others, giving away valued possessions, aggressive behavior, increased/decreased sleep, saying or writing goodbyes, looking for ways to kill themselves online.

Mood- loss of interest, irritability, rage, uncontrolled anger, anxiety, depression

Risk Factors are situations that increase the chance that a person may try to end their life.

Some factors that mean greater risk:

Health: mental health conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use, and gambling disorders; or serious or chronic pain issues

Environmental: stressful life events, including death, divorce, or job loss; prolonged stress, including harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment

Historical- previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, chronic trauma, generational trauma

It is important to listen, assess all of the signs noted below, and stay with the person while you’re contacting professional help.

Sources: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at:; American Association of Suicidology at:; Crisis Connection: Laura Weber, LMFT, Daniel Mrotek, LPCC