The ability to talk about suicide is a difficult and tricky discussion to facilitate, specifically when it is about a certain individual. Suicide is a situation that can hit a loved one, a friend, or an acquaintance that you occasionally see at work. It is important to be informed when a high-pressure situation, such as suicide, comes into your life. There are steps to take to prevent someone from going down a path that they may not be able to come back from. Many times creating a supportive environment for someone is just the thing they need to save them from this decision.
Asking someone if they are suicidal may be a bit blunt but it may be necessary for the situation. Start by just asking how they are feeling, that may lead a more natural discussion about their internal issues. Ask the person if they need anything or if they would like to talk. They may push you away but combining a social firmness yet sense of understanding will truly set you up as an ally in their life.
If the person does not want to talk, that is okay. Just being there for them, even if they are not talking is important too. Your physical presence and your emotional presence for someone may be all they need. The fact that the person at hand knows that you are available at their need is important. You may be the only person in their life who is willing to be there for them.
This is an important step in the de-escalation of a suicidal situation. Subtly take away any risk factors for a suicidal situation. Whether it be removing them from an unhealthy environment or distracting them for the time being. Even taking away resources they could use to hurt themselves is another way to reduce the risk.
Get Them Connected
Once you have managed to get the person in a low-risk state, get them connected to a mental health professional immediately. A professional would be able to properly handle the situation and begin to treat them.
Remain in their life
For long-term stability, do not make this the last time you speak to them. Continue to be a part of their life and support them in the good and bad times in the future. A friend can be a huge resource for someone who has suicidal tendencies. Every conversation does not have to be about feelings or emotions, it can be having fun times and creating new positive memories together.