What do people who feel suicidal not want?

To be alone

Rejection can make the problem seem ten times worse. Having someone to turn to makes all the difference.

To be advised

Lectures don’t help. Nor does a suggestion to “cheer up”, or an easy assurance that “everything will be okay.” Don’t analyse, compare, categorise or criticise.

To be interrogated

Don’t change the subject, don’t pity or patronise. Talking about feelings is difficult. People who feel suicidal don’t want to be rushed or put on the defensive.

To have their lack of hope confirmed

You should not confirm the hopelessness of the situation. Rather, you can gently steer the conversation toward exploring things that they think could help.