Top Tips

Ask me about risk

  • It’s better to say something rather than nothing!
  • Not saying anything about your worries about my risk will reinforce the idea that you don’t care and make me feel ashamed as it’s not something ok to talk about.
  • Asking directly about difficult things shows me you actually care.
  • Don’t worry about finding exactly the right words, your intention to understand and be caring is more important to me.
  • If you get it wrong, acknowledge it and try again – I understand you’re human (and sometimes it’s a nice reminder that we don’t all get our words right)
  • You could say: “It would be really helpful for me to get a better understanding of how you’re feeling so we can figure out together what would help…?”
  • If I’ve had mental health problems or have been self harming for some time, I’m probably quite experienced at managing it. You could say: “What’s changed today?”
  • Focus on my feelings not my behaviours and give me time to talk about how I’m feeling
  • Remember (and remind me) I’m a person, not just an ‘injury’ or a ‘risk’.
  • Ask me about intention to understand if I meant to harm myself or if I was feeling suicidal.
  • Be honest and direct, you could say: “You’re In A+E because you felt like you wanted to die and we want to look after you and keep you safe”.
  • You could say: “How much of a risk to yourself do you feel right now?”
    Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, you could say: “Did you intend to harm yourself?” or “Did you want to die?”
  • Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it.
  • Remind me you’re asking because you care and want to keep me safe
    It’s ok to acknowledge these questions are difficult.

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