Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
This resource, part of the Be Well, Think Well resource collection, provides information about what are suicidal thoughts and how to manage those thoughts, the risk and protective factors for suicide, and information to help professionals know what to do if they are working with someone with ASD who has thoughts of suicide.
Suicidal thoughts are when people think about suicide or wanting to end their own life. Suicidal thoughts may happen if someone is depressed.
Suicidal thoughts are thoughts such as:
People will call these thoughts “suicidal ideation.” It is important to get help if you are having any thoughts about killing yourself or hurting yourself in any way.
It is important to get help if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death.
Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States.
These factors increase the risk of someone attempting suicide:
These factors reduce the chance of a person attempting suicide:
If you’re concerned someone may be considering suicide or is a danger to themselves you can:
People who are depressed or anxious have an increased risk for suicide. A person with ASD and other mental health conditions may also be at higher risk for suicide.
Passive Suicidal Ideation is thoughts of wanting to die without intent to follow through on these thoughts.
Active Suicidal Ideation is when a person has feelings that they would actually like to die.
Some people are cautious to ask about possible suicidal thoughts. Asking about suicidal thoughts will not make someone think about suicide more. Avoiding the question makes it more difficult to get people the help they need.
Ask directly if the person has thoughts about hurting or killing themselves. If they say yes, ask them how often they think about hurting or killing themselves. One of the next questions to ask is if they have a plan. Ask the person if they have thought about how they complete the act of suicide. Persons who have a plan for suicide are at a higher risk for completing suicide.
The next step is to keep the person safe if they have plans to commit suicide. If the person has a plan, try to take away their access to these means. If someone is in immediate danger, stay with the person until they are in a safe place. If you are able, secure all dangerous objects. This includes sharp objects, medications, and firearms. If firearms are present, the person may voluntarily agree to have local police secure firearms or to have the firearms secured in another location.
It is important to get additional help for the person. Tell someone right away. Call 9-1-1 if the person is in need of immediate assistance. Emergency personnel can take the person to the hospital for support. If the person is not in immediate danger, take them to a therapist, doctor, or other social supports right away.
Crisis Intervention is a resource in every county in Pennsylvania. Crisis Intervention can provide support on the telephone. Crisis workers can also go to a person who needs help with de-escalation in an emergency.
There are free, confidential hotlines that also help people who are feeling suicidal. Anyone can contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if they are feeling suicidal. Call them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or send a text message to the number 741741. Trained professionals are available 24/7 to talk with people who feel suicidal. These professionals can help de-escalate an immediate crisis. They can also help the person to connect with more supports in their community.
Referring the person for therapy and/or psychiatry is important for the person’s wellbeing. Therapy and medications are help to reduce the symptoms of depression, including suicidal thinking. DSPs can also help by making a safety plan with the person. The safety plan will help people know their own warning signs, helpful coping skills, and resources to go to if they are feeling suicidal. Check out ASERTs Safety Plan resource for tips on how to make a safety plan.
|Be Well, Think Well: What Are Suicidal Thoughts?||This resource provides examples of suicidal thoughts.||Download file: Be Well, Think Well: What Are Suicidal Thoughts?|
|Be Well, Think Well: How to Manage Suicidal Thoughts||This resource gives some information about support and resources that are available to people who may experience suicidal thoughts.||Download file: Be Well, Think Well: How to Manage Suicidal Thoughts|
|Be Well, Think Well: Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide||This resource provides information about risk and protective factors for suicide.||Download file: Be Well, Think Well: Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide|
|Be Well, Think Well: Assessing for Suicidal Thoughts||This resource will help professionals know what to do if they are working with someone with ASD who has thoughts of suicide.||Download file: Be Well, Think Well: Assessing for Suicidal Thoughts|
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.