You can-and should-ask someone who could be suicidal how they're feeling
Barb Gay, executive director of the Area Substance Abuse Council, Inc., a nonprofit substance abuse prevention and treatment agency in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, didn't tell anyone for years that she had attempted suicide. "Part of it for me was I grew up in a home where we had a lot of secrets," she says, including physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her father. "We weren't supposed to be talking about what was happening at home, that was sort of a known fact." Looking back, she can see that some of her behaviors and actions were attempts to break down those walls. "I was reaching out to someone to help me. I wanted someone to say, 'Why are you doing that? What's going on?'"
Barb Gay是爱荷华州锡达拉皮兹市的非营利性药物滥用预防与治疗机构--地区药物滥用委员会公司（Area Substance Abuse Council, Inc）的执行董事。多年来，她从未告诉任何人她曾试图自杀。"一部分原因是：我在一个有很多秘密的家庭环境中长大，"她说道，包括父亲对她的肉体虐待和辱骂。"我们不能谈论家里发生的事情，这是大家所公认的。"回顾以往，她发现自己的某些行为在为冲破牢笼做尝试。"我当时求助了一些人，我希望有人能说，'你为什么要那么做？发生了什么事情？'"
Don't be afraid to say the word "suicide"
"A lot of people avoid the actual word," notes Diana Cortez Yanez, a lived experience consultant and peer support specialist with the Zero Suicide Institute. "In many cases, they're afraid they'll trigger something." In her opinion, this is the biggest misconception about suicide in general. There's no evidence that talking about suicide gives someone the idea to end their life. Rather, talking about suicide can actually open paths of communication a vulnerable person was looking for.
"很多人都会避开这个词，"零自杀研究所（Zero Suicide Institute）的现场体验顾问、同伴支持专家黛安娜·科尔特斯·亚尼斯指出。"在很多情况下，他们担心会触发某事。"她认为，这是大家对自杀的最大误解。没有证据表明，谈论自杀会让人产生结束生命之感。相反，谈论自杀实则会打开弱势群体一直都在寻找的沟通路径。
"I'm not saying it's not a hard subject to bring up, but if we don't speak about it, that's where the scary part is," Cortez Yanez says. "It was a relief for me when people would bring it up. It gave me permission to open up."
Avoiding the word can make it seem like you're pretending nothing happened, which amounts to a growing elephant in the room, she says. Instead, "say something with love and concern, and try not to assume anything," she suggests.
It's okay if you don't know what to say
When Clifford Bauman, a chief warrant officer 4 in the U.S. Army National Guard, first started speaking publicly about his 2012 suicide attempt, he noticed that some people treated him differently almost immediately.