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Responding to patients who might be at risk of suicide

If patients disclose symptoms, thoughts or feelings that might indicate a mental illness, mental health issue or suicidality, some things that might help you work positively with your patients, are to:

  • normalise your patient’s feelings
  • use people first language – talk about mental health issues, mental illness and mental disorders as being separate to the person, not as defining them
  • give patients clear messages of recovery
  • acknowledge how scary it must feel to have thoughts of suicide.


Suicide prevention and first aid a resource for GPs