Self-injury can indicate a number of different things. Someone who is hurting themselves may be at risk of suicide. Others engage in a pattern of self-injury over weeks, months, or years and are not necessarily suicidal.
It is not easy to tell the difference between self-injury and a suicide attempt. Some people argue that anyone who injures themselves must be suicidal even if they are not conscious of it. Others say that it is the person's intentions which count. The only way to know is to ask the person directly if they are suicidal. These guidelines can assist you only if the person you are helping is suicidal. If the person you are assisting is injuring themselves but is not suicidal, please refer to the guidelines entitled MHFA Guidelines for non-suicidal self-injury.
Purpose of these Guidelines
These guidelines are designed to help members of the public to provide first aid to someone who is at risk of suicide. The role of the first aider is to assist the person until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves.
Development of these Guidelines
The following guidelines are created based on the expert opinions of a panel of mental health professionals from the Philippines on how to help someone who may attempt to commit suicide. Details of the methodology wil be published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems.
How to use these Guidelines
These guidelines are a general set of recommendations about how you can help someone who may be at a risk of suicide. Each individual is unique and it is important to tailor your support to that person's needs. Also, the guidelines are designed to be suitable for providing first aid in India. They may not be suitable for other cultural groups or for countries with different health systems.
Colucci E, Kelly C, Minas HK, and Jorm AF. Suicide First Aid Guidelines for India. Melbourne: Centre for International Mental Health & Orygen Youth Health Research Centre. The University of Melbourne; 2009.