Prevention Tools

Suicide Language Use Tutorial

There has been some debate on the correct terms to use in describing suicidal behavior. The QPR Institute has developed this quick Suicide Language Use Tutorial to help guide you through accurate use of language when talking about suicide.


Suicide Prevention Trainings

The County of San Luis Obispo and Transitions-Mental Health Association offer a variety of suicide prevention trainings. Follow the following link to learn more about how Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) can teach you the warning signs and how to refer someone to help. Follow this link to learn more about how the 16-hour Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) can teach you how to help someone through a suicide crisis. Want to learn more about mental health and suicide? Visit Mental Health First Aid can help teach you to save a life.

Our partners from The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) also have a great selection of suicide prevention education tools that target difference audiences and their unique experiences. Click the following link to learn about what AFSP Program is right for you. 

The PsychArmor Institute has a variety of suicide prevention trainings specific to Active Military and Veterans. Register for Helping Others Hold On or S.A.V.E. to help your brothers and sisters in arms.


If you think that someone you know is in imminent danger or is in an active suicide attempt, call 911 and stay with the person as long a you are safe.

If the person is not in imminent danger:

  • Reach out and express the behavior change/concern you have for the individual.
  • Remember that suicide is not the problem, but a perceived solution to extreme pain, psychological distress, or life issue that appears to have no solution.
  • It's OKAY and NECESSARY to ask the person if they are thinking about suicide.
    • Be direct and concise when asking the question

    • Reserve judgments when they respond

    • LISTEN more than you talk

    • Focus on life, for example, "I want you to live."

  • Remember that you are not there to solve their situation, but rather show support, compassion, and assist them in getting appropriate support.
    • Call the Central Coast Hotline for support and assistance through the conversation. 1-800-783-0607.

    • Visit the Behavioral Health page to learn more about managed care, the Crisis Stabilization Unit, and other options for support.

  • Other practical ways to help:

If you are thinking about suicide, know that you are not alone and that help is available

1. Call the Central Coast Hotline at 800-783-0607 for free and confidential support. Someone is there 24/7 to answer your call and listen, provide support, and connect you to resources.

2. Whether you have private insurance, Medi-Cal, or do not have insurance, the Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) can help you through your time of crisis and work with you to connect with community support. The CSU is a Voluntary facility that you can stay at for 23 hours to support you through your crisis. You can have visitors and also decide to leave when you are ready.

Crisis Stabilization Unit

2180 B Johnson Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Phone: (805) 788-2507 Email: [email protected]


3. Find a trusted friend or family member to talk to about what you're going through, you don't have to experience your crisis alone.

4. When in doubt, call 911. Many of our local law enforcement agencies have been trained in Crisis Intervention and can help get you to a hospital.


Suicide does not have a single cause, so how do we prevent it?

1. Here are three simple steps to start:

     Know the Signs, Find the Words, Reach Out

     Visit to learn more

2. Volunteer as a Field Advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

     What's a Field Advocate? Visit the following link to learn more about AFSP's Field Advocacy Program.

3. Take a Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training.

County Behavioral Health and our partners at Transitions-Mental Health Association offer  QPR, ASIST, or Mental Health First Aid trainings. For more information, call the Prevention and Outreach Division at 805-781-4754.

Check out the various education tools from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at