1.2 Suicide as a Spectrum

Many people think about suicide, but most aren’t at risk of actually taking action to end their life. Not being fully aware of the spectrum of suicidality may cause you to respond in fear. Your support as a caregiver is important but there may also be times when the person in need requires assistance you are not equipped to provide.

Take a look at the questions below to help you understand their thoughts of suicide and determine how to best support them:


If a plan or intent is present, it’s important to refer the person in need to other supports as shown above. When someone has no plan or intent for suicide, support from a suicide caregiver can help the person feel less alone. Escalating them to emergency services for passive suicidal thoughts can make them feel more isolated or like a burden. As always, calling a crisis line is an option when you feel additional support is needed.

As time passes, there may be situations where you get frustrated by the person in need and feel they may have other intentions behind their answers to these questions. During those times, it’s important to still take their thoughts seriously and act accordingly.

There may also be moments where you aren’t able to have a conversation with the person you are supporting. This includes, but is not limited to, when the person is:

  • In the middle of a suicide attempt

  • In need of medical assistance

  • Heavily intoxicated

During these moments, it is crucial to get emergency services involved whether it is taking them to the hospital or calling local police to check in on them.

When you’re unsure what to do, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to discuss options with a trained counselor as well. Ultimately, trust your gut. If you don’t feel safe, call someone who can help.

© 2018 Suicide Is Different