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Suicide Intervention: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Suicide Intervention: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

People threatening suicide are in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) provides crisis intervention for such people throughout the United States. Suicide prevention centers are staffed by specially trained volunteers.

When potentially suicidal people call the hotline, a volunteer does the following:

  • Seeks to establish a relationship with them, reminding them of their identity (for example, by using their name repeatedly)

  • May offer constructive help for the problem that brought on the crisis and encourage them to take positive action to resolve it

  • May try to facilitate emergency face-to-face professional help for them

Sometimes people call a hotline to say that they have already committed a suicidal act (for example, taken a drug overdose or turned on the gas) or are in the process of doing so. In such cases, the volunteer tries to obtain their address. If that is not possible, another volunteer contacts the police to trace the call and attempt a rescue. If possible, people are kept talking on the telephone until the police arrive.