I’m nearing the end of History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life, a memoir by Jill Bialosky. Years after her sister committed suicide, Bialosky contacted Dr. Edwin Shneidman to piece together a psychological autopsy.
In talking, he gave her a key piece of information—one thing everyone should know about suicide and its prevention:
"What should you do if you fear someone is suicidal?" I said.
"Dare to ask," he said.
Contrary to long-perpetuated myth, asking a person if they’re considering suicide won’t plant the idea in their head. Chances are, if you’re bringing it up, they’ve thought about it already.
It’s just that simple. It’s a powerful question, but nothing to be afraid of. Keep it in the back of your mind. Use it if you need to. That one question could save the life of someone you love.