Supporting people experiencing suicidality protocol

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This protocol is a draft. It has not yet been accepted as protocol and may be incorrect or poorly cited. Please do not use this in your work until it has been accepted.

Please see #protocols on Slack to discuss this protocol further.

This protocol focuses on how to support someone who is experiencing suicidality. This doesn’t discuss suicide attempts. Suicidality is where someone feels like they want to die, and like they want to take their own life. This protocol should be used alongside the general Mental Health first response Protocol.

It’s important to remember that there are different kinds of suicidal thoughts. Some people find it helpful to think of this as a scale. Almost everyone who experiences suiciality moves up and down this scale, and everyone experiences each aspect of the scale differently. There is not one stage that is ‘more severe’ or ‘more overwhelming’ than any others.

  • Suicide attempt: When someone has tried to take their own life.
  • Suicidal with plan and intent: Has a specific plan and feels like they are going to carry it out.
  • Suicidal intent: Feels like they are going to take their own life and doesn’t have a plan.
  • Suicidal thoughts - method, no plan or intent: Has thought about how they would take their own life, doesn’t have a specific plan and doesn't feel like they will do what they are thinking about.
  • Suicidal thoughts - no plan or intent: Are thinking about killing themselves without details, and doesn’t have a plan or a feeling like they will act on their thoughts.
  • Thoughts of morbidity - Thinking about death and dying, without details.
  • Random intrusive thoughts - Passing thoughts that jump into their head about death, dying and suicide. This can be different for people who experience ongoing suicidality, where these thoughts may be more common.
  • No thoughts about death, dying or suicide.