The Dos and Don’ts Technique
Review CD Track 4 for more information regarding this technique
1. Be aware. Learn the warning signs. I reviewed with Greg the warning signs from Track 2.
2. Get involved. Become available and show interest and support.
3. Ask specifically if your loved one is thinking about suicide. Use specifically words like ‘suicide,’ ‘die,’ or ‘kill’. Use a question like ‘Do you want to die?’ rather than ‘You’re not thinking of killing yourself, are you?’ Questions like this will offer your loved one a source of relief and set you up as a person willing to listen.
4. Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
5. Be willing to listen. Allow expression of feelings and accept the feelings. Don’t tell him or her to feel better.
6. Be nonjudgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture of the value of life.
7. Don’t dare him or her to do it.
8. Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else. Don’t tell her or him to behave differently.
9. Don’t ask why. That encourages defensiveness.
10. Offer empathy, not sympathy.
11. Don’t act shocked. That will put distance between you.
12. Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
13. Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance. It only proves you don’t understand.
14. Take action. Remove the means to commit suicide from the loved one’s environment.