5-Steps to Suicide Prevention

This course gives insight into a 5-step method for Suicide Prevention and will provide you with knowledge on how to handle a situation where someone you know may be having suicidal thoughts. This course also includes vital lessons on communication and listening, a vital piece of the 5-Steps.

Introduction: Overview of the 5 Steps

These 5 Steps can help you save lives! In this video, Freddie will give an overview of the 5-steps, dispel some common myths, and show you can help someone at risk. You have a chance to provide a lifeline to someone who could be at risk.

The 5 Steps of Asking, Being There, Keeping Them Safe, Helping Them Connect, and Following Up. This course will give you the tools to be confident and effective to help save someone’s life.

A Root Cause: Connectedness

Kristi Kings, Executive Director of Rachel’s Challenge, and Pivotal Moments Media’s Freddie Scott identify and discuss the root cause of suicide, a lack of connectedness.

A Pivotal Moments Mission Partner, Rachel’s Challenge addresses the root causes of school violence, bullying, prejudice, and self-harm through social-emotional learning programs that build connection, hope, and resilience. We improve school culture so that students are able to reach their full potential academically, socially, and emotionally.


Available to the public for a variety of purposes.



  • Reporting on Suicide – Developed by leading experts in suicide prevention, in collaboration with media organizations and many others, this website provides best practices and recommendations for reporting on suicide, as well as specific guidance to the news media on accurate and responsible coverage of suicide. Learn more here: https://reportingonsuicide.org/


Step 1. Ask

Asking the question, “Are you thinking about suicide?” can be a lifeline to someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Like a lifeguard at the beach, that question could be a lifeline to someone drowning in their thoughts. You are letting them know they are seen and cared for, when they may think no one does. Be direct, non-biased, and non-judgmental to allow them to feel comfortable answering the question. They need to know they can be honest with their answer and still know you won’t judge them.

Here are some Warning Signs to look for if you are concerned about someone around you: https://www.bethe1to.com/warning-signs/

Step 2. Be There

Being there with someone who is struggling with suicide can be done in a variety of ways. It could mean being there physically with them, a phone call, or any other way to support someone who may be at risk. Look at their body language to see if they are tense or closed off. Listen to their tone for how they may be feeling. Listen to their story and what they feel is causing them to feel overwhelmed, in pain, or just tired.

Step 3. Keep Them Safe

The next thing to do is to keep the person safe. You can do this in two simple steps. First, ask them if they have a plan. This will let you know how severe the situation is. If they don’t have a plan but are just thinking about suicide, you can listen, and proceed to step four. If they have a plan, then you should then make keeping them safe a priority. You can do this by Making a Safety Planhttps://www.bethe1to.com/safety-plan/.

Step 4. Help Them Connect

Helping someone connect to ongoing supports like the 988 Lifeline can help them create a safety net of support around them. Just like in a medical emergency, when someone needs CPR, the person providing CPR is different than the trained medical doctors that can diagnose, treat, and support the person.

Remember, your job is not to be a doctor! Your conversation is like providing CPR until they are connected to the trained experts that can support them. Here are some helpful tools when reporting on suicide: https://www.bethe1to.com/reporting-on-suicide/

Step 5. Follow Up

After you have helped someone through the process of identifying their thoughts and getting the support they need, it’s important to do the last step…follow up. Feel free to call, leave a message, text, or even send a postcard. Let them know you are thinking of them, and that they are not alone.

Research has shown that follow-up will increase their feelings of connectedness and can decrease the risk of suicide. Here is a link to show why follow-up matters: https://followupmatters.988lifeline.org/follow-up-starts-here/

A Meaningful Story: The Importance of Listening

Retired U.S. Navy Seal Mark Greene speaks on his experiences following his transition out of the military. Mark tells stories of how somebody saved his life and how his daughter helped him in a time of need. You will hear how a simple question helped him understand that he needed help, changing his life forever.