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User in Crisis: Asking About Suicide, Mental Health, or Other Issues

In the event you encounter a user who is in a crisis situation who may potentially harm him/herself or others follow the guidelines below. It may be difficult to distinguish a prank from a real situation; assume it is real and provide professional contacts for the user. Do not attempt to counsel or advise the user.

  • As quickly as possible, provide the user with online resources including phone and online contacts to professionals who can assist the patron. These are available as canned messages.
  • After you send the canned message, phone number and/or the websites, do not engage with the customer. Thank the customer for using Ask a Librarian, and exit from the session so that the customer can contact the hotlines and get the help they need.