Supporting Someone in Difficulty

When you’re worried about a someone, it’s not uncommon to feel helpless and uncertain about what to do or not do.

Keep in mind that if you need help to deal with the situation, suicide.ca has counsellors to provide you with support.

Getting professional help

People have suicidal thoughts because they’re experiencing multiple difficulties. Their situation needs to be properly assessed by a health professional to determine which services are most appropriate for their needs.

Getting professional help for someone thinking about suicide

Here are some of the services provided by health professionals:


  • Ensure the safety of a person considering suicide

  • Assess suicide risk

  • Help a person in crisis calm down

  • Treat mental health issues

  • Help people in difficulty find solutions to their problems

Choosing the right kind of help

Determining which support service to contact can be difficult.

Here’s a tool to help you identify the service that is most appropriate for the situation:

How to request help

When you contact professional services, they will take time to assess what’s needed and then give you advice to help you support the person. 

Here are some tips on what to do when seeking professional help:

  • Have a pen and paper handy to take notes.
  • Clearly state your name and your relationship to the person you’re calling about.
  • Explain the reason for you call, starting with the things you’re worried about.
  • Indicate whether the person is thinking about suicide.
  • Provide any details you may have on their suicide plans.
  • Provide details about the person’s situation.
  • Indicate the behavioural changes you have noticed.
  • Answer any questions you are asked as accurately as possible. It’s OK if you can’t answer all the questions.
  • Take note of the information you are given.
  • Recontact the service any time if your the person’s situation changes or if you need support yourself.

How to encourage a person to accept help

It’s usually relatively easy to get someone to accept help. But some people may be reluctant to do so for any number of reasons.

Here are some tips for encouraging them to accept help: