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Talking Down the Suicidal
aka: Talking Down The Suicide

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When being super isn't enough to save a life.

"I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend,
You could cut ties with all the lies, that you've been living in,
And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand."
Third Eye Blind, "Jumper"

This is when someone is Driven to Suicide and someone else who is aware of their plans decides to actively stop them... by talking them down. Distinct from Interrupted Suicide, but sometimes part of one. If Bob has not gotten the opportunity to interrupt Alice's suicide attempt to request that she not kill herself, maybe she's called him on the phone to say goodbye and he's decided to talk her out of doing the deed rather than go along with her goodbyes. Maybe Bob has told Alice that he plans to kill himself several hours later and Alice, instead of immediately calling 911, is going to take a direct approach towards saving Bob's life. To sum it up, someone has decided, for one or more reasons, that they want to take their own life and someone else has decided to actively confront them and say to them, "Please don't kill yourself."


There are multiple reasons why someone might decide to take this approach instead of immediately calling for emergency help. The most obvious reason for doing this is because of this trope's similar effect to a Care-Bear Stare. Even if your life is saved by your being forcefully stopped from killing yourself when you're suicidal, it's nothing like having someone telling you to not do it because they actually care whether you live or die. Also, having only one person or a small group of people (especially if they are close to the person they are doing this to) talk down one person who is about to kill themselves is better for building up emotional tension and drama than having a large emergency team do this. Maybe the Talker wants to spare the Suicidal the embarrassment of having the police come over to do it, or else wants the Suicidal to get help, but wants to minimize the chances of having them being taken off to a mental hospital (especially if the Talker fears that calling in the authorities might be the last straw that pushes the Suicidal into going through with it).


This is actually one of the best ways to deal with someone known to be suicidal, because the very act of someone they know stopping them might make them reconsider their reasons for wanting to commit suicide in the first place. In such cases, it's likely best to avoid using cliches such as that they "have so much to live for" or they are "selfish or are taking the easy way out." You don't have to go all out and plead with them. Just being there for them to talk to, listening to them, and encouraging them to talk to others can make all the difference.

Compare to The Precarious Ledge. See also Fake Assisted Suicide. Inverted by Suicide Dare.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Welcome to the N.H.K.:
    • Happens when Misaki (with others help) convinces an entire suicide club (which Satou joined) to abort their plans. In a particularly dark twist, Satou is not genuinely suicidal and just wound up roped into the pact with everyone else. As each member of the group realizes they have something to live for, it causes Satou to realize how empty and sad his own life is, and by the end the now-hopeful members of the pact are having to physically stop him from jumping.
    • Also happens again near the end, when Satou talks Misaki down from jumping off a cliff. Subverted when he then jumps himself.
  • In Reborn! (2004) in the early chapters of the manga Yamamoto almost commits suicide. This was due to some bad advice that he broke his arm over, and he thought that his career as a baseball player was over. So he moseyed on over to the edge of the school rooftop and prepared to jump, and he was dead serious about it. With an audience of students trying to cajole him out of it, the only voice he listened to was Tsuna's. He ended up falling due to bad construction of a gate but Tsuna saves him. After that, he and Tsuna become good friends and he joins Tsuna's mafia family.
  • Beyond the Boundary starts with Akihito spotting Mirai on the edge of the school roof, seemingly about to jump off, and dashing up to talk her out of it (read: rant about how much he loves glasses). Could be a subversion as it's unknown whether she actually intended to jump off, but in the end she comes away from the ledge...and then stabs Akihito. Luckily for him, he's immortal.
  • Descendants of Darkness: At one point, Tsuzuki tries to commit suicide again thanks to Muraki, and Hisoka hugs him and begs him to not do so.
    "If you have nothing to live for... then at least live for me!"
  • In Natsuneko's one-shot manga Rooftop Miracle, two girls independently try to commit a suicide by jumping off a tall building, for the exact same reason no less as both had been swindled by the same person, but end up talking each other out of it.

  • Parodied by Improv Everywhere. Police, friends, and a wife all gather to talk down a man . . . off a four-foot ledge.
  • Otto, in one of his occasional self-deprecating jokes, recounted how he was about to jump to his death and a priest was supposed to talk him out of it … but after the priest recognized Otto, he encouraged him instead.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: Reed talks down a lonely, suicidal man with terminal cancer by promising that he'll be there to save him from Dying Alone. He keeps his promise.
  • Superman:
  • Deadpool once dragged a would-be teenage jumper on a night of crazy adventure. He ends it by taking her to the emergency room, having already texted them that she would be walking in for help. Wade tells her that he doesn't think she's crazy, and that she just needs some help. He's self-aware (and self-loathing) enough to realize that he can't truly help her, but the people at the emergency room can.
  • In Robin #156, Tim stops a would be jumper by deducing enough about him to make him curious about what Robin has to say and then sitting with him and talking to him convincing him that he is not alone. It's then heavily implied that Tim is experiencing suicidal thoughts or at least really needs to talk to someone about all the losses in his own life so he calls Dick and the issue ends with a set of numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • Judge Dredd: Parodied when Dredd is called in to talk down an obese man who threatens to jump off a roof. Through a megaphone he shouts that he's got more than enough criminals to deal with, and threatens to shoot the guy off the building because suicide is illegal.
  • In Unstoppable Wasp vol. 2 #5, Nadia has to be talked down by Priya, the only one left of G.I.R.L. who wasn't either a pile of lumps or holding a major chip on her shoulder after a Manic episode-suffering Nadia collectively kicked their asses in an attempt to get her to stay put. This was also Priya's My Greatest Second Chance moment as she failed to see the signs her own brother was suffering before he took his life.
  • A play on reader expectations of this concept was used in the later days of Wonder Woman (1987). The police call in Diana to deal with a jumper in Washington DC since she can reach him quickly and is known to be very good at getting people to see things in a better light. When she arrives she quickly realizes the man is actually horrified and under the mental control of Doctor Psycho. After rescuing him she spends most of the rest of the night saving other victims of the Depraved Dwarf who are being forced to jump off buildings all over the city to deliver a message to her piece by piece without allowing her to get close to Psycho.
  • Played for Laughs in Alan Ford during the flashback of Count Oliver: when his elderly and now bankrupt father announces that they're broke, he tries to shoot himself, but his son valiantly talks him out of suicide. What actually happened, as depicted in the comics, is that Oliver just pulled the pistol out of his father's hands with the following line:
    Oliver: "What do you think you're doing pa? Give me that, you know it's unloaded!"
  • Subverted towards the end of the "Marvel Knights" run of The Punisher: Kevin, who's been contemptuous of Detective Soap for most of the series (and honestly, you can't really blame him) gets angry at Soap for choosing his bathroom to blow his brains out, encouraging him to by all means to rid the world of his presence, but somewhere else. This finally sends Soap over the edge, and he grows a spine for all of a few hours, culminating in his attempting to arrest Frank. Frank convinces him to go away, and Soap ends up finding gainful employment as a pornstar.
  • Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman saves Gay Frollik from a suicide attempt and when the woman is detected at having been rescued sits and talks with her and convinces her not to just go try again. After getting Gay to Etta Candy to keep her company and keep an eye on her Diana discovers that the murder Gay spent years of her life in prison for was actually commited by the fiance that abandoned her to cover up his own criminal activities (Gay had hit the man in the head and fled the scene, so didn't know how things had played out) and Gay is able to find new purpose in helping other people rejoin society.
  • An interesting variant happens when The Spectre confronts a couple of teenagers who plan to kill themselves like their idol, a rockstar, did. Rather than offering some encouraging and comforting words, The Spectre shows them the soul of their beloved idol in hell, sent there for the sin of taking his own life. Seeing their idol express regret for committing suicide and experiencing the fate they'll recieve should they continue with what their doing convinces the kids not to kill themselves.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Judge Parker strip once had a short arc about the title character trying to talk a woman out of jumping off a building. She was ashamed of the things she had done as a corporate CEO.
  • During one Broom Hilda Sunday strip, Hilda sees a man on a ledge about to jump, listing all the recent horrible things he's had. Hilda tells him of the even worse things in her life and the man decides that his life isn't so bad and decides not to jump. Upon now realizing how bad her own life is, she takes a plunge instead.

    Fan Works 
  • In Chapter Forty-Four of A Triangleinthe Stars, Steven Universe ends up doing this to Bill Cipher, of all people. He pursues the demon up a cliff in a severe storm, where Bill planned to use himself as a conduit for the lightning to detect and strike, overloading and killing him. Steven bungles the suicide attempt, which frustrates Bill despite the heartwarming words. He threatens to throw himself off the cliff if Bill went through with it, but that only makes matters worse and deepens the depression, which the boy realizes. Finally, after much severe confusion and suffering on Bill's part, Steven succeeds in talking the demon down, complete with Cool Down Hug. It has to be read to be believed and fully appreciated.
  • The Child of Love: In chapter 5 Asuka swallows a bunch of sleeping pills. Shinji tries to talk her out of it but he reaches her too late to stop her. Later as she sleeps she dreams with reuniting with her deceased mother, but her daughter Teri visits her dreams and stops Asuka, reminding her that she needs her.
    Shinji:"ASUKA! OPEN THE DOOR!!! PLEASE! DON'T DO THIS!!!! PLEASE! I...I..." (his voice trails off:) "...I'm sorry. Really. If you want to talk to someone, I'm here. I know how you feel...OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!"
  • Doing It Right This Time: When Shinji finds out that Asuka remembers everything, including his actions when she was comatose Shinji thinks he has already screwed up his chance to make things right and decides to put himself off his misery. Horrified, Asuka talks him out of it.
  • Evangelion 303: In chapter 12 Shinji found Asuka when she was about to commit suicide. Firstly he tried to talk her out of it with the usual lines ("Please, don't do this"), but when he realized that she was prepared to resist his pleas, he decided to deceive her into allowing him get close enough to pry her gun away her. It worked.
  • In the Star Trek fanfic Memories Born of Fire, in Spock's nightmare, Christine Chapel attempts this after she realizes that the Vulcan plans on stabbing himself. She doesn't succeed.
  • In the Worm fanfic "No Good Deed", hero Assault tried to talk down Taylor when she was on the verge of jumping off a building after accidentally killing several thugs.
  • Acts as Bookends in You Can Only Use Your Own. Asriel talks down Chara in someone else's fire, and then again in we light ourselves up from the deepest of pits.
  • Subverted in Last Light. Rainbow Dash and Rarity try to do this when they see Sunset Shimmer near the railing of a several story parking garage. It doesn't work so Rainbow tries to race up and grab her, but she's not fast enough to stop her from falling.
  • This occurs at the end of Veritas Dolor when Shadow tries to shoot himself on the anniversary of the ARK massacre. Rouge is able to talk Shadow down by telling him that Omega wouldn't physically be able to process how an immortal like Shadow could die. Shadow doesn't want Omega to short-circuit and die with him, so he puts down the gun. However, Rouge does note that Shadow will likely attempt again, and she hopes he can tall himself down if something were to happen to her.

    Films — Animation 
  • The image pictured above is from Justice League: Doom, where Superman attempts to talk down a co-worker of his alter ego, Clark Kent, from killing himself. However, it turns out to be a trap as the man is actually Metallo in disguise, who impersonated said co-worker to lure Superman and shoots him with a kryptonite bullet.
  • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: Gloria stops Melman from foolishly jumping into the volcano and sacrificing himself to bring water after she finds out about his feelings towards her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Accidental Hero: At the climax John is on a ledge and preparing to jump but Rubeus goes out on the ledge and talks him down. Naturally (given the plot of the film) the media think that John talked Rubeus down, not the other way around.
  • In Best in Show, one of the characters has this job. However, "they all jump", and he gives graphic detail over one jumper's fall involving a gargoyle.
  • Camp X-Ray: Ali puts a shiv to his throat in the conclusion, despairing over the fact that he'll never be free, and this is his only way out. Cole tries to talk him out of it, but eventually allows him to kill himself if he chooses. He doesn't.
  • Inverted in Canadian Bacon, with John Candy and Rhea Pearlman openly encouraging folks to jump off Niagara Falls to collect a reward on washed-up bodies.
  • In Crocodile Dundee II, Mick Dundee sees a would-be jumper on a ledge so he goes up to the floor, goes out on the opposite side of the building and acts like he's just taking a stroll when he comes around the corner the jumper is on. As the jumper is near the edge, Mick asks him if he could please step aside and let him pass. When the man tells him he's going to jump, Mick takes a look down, like he never heard of the concept, and remarks, "You'd kill yourself, mate." Eventually, Mick talks him down.
  • Happens twice in Dirty Harry films.
    • The first is a jumper in Dirty Harry whom Callahan knocks out while talking to him about having to fill out the paperwork.
    • The second is a man in The Dead Pool wanting to set himself on fire in front of reporters. The reporter refuses to film the second man which leads to the attempt anyway.
  • Driven To Suicide: Dr. Mickle does this with John starting out, as the latter is threatening to jump off a building over his lost love.
  • In Dr. Dolittle, the tiger Jake is suffering from chronic headaches, nausea and double vision. He heads to the top of Coit Tower, prepared to end it all, but Dr. Dolittle is summoned to try to talk him down from it.note  At first it doesn't go so well, as he comes up empty when the tiger asks him to name any famous tigers and the dog Lucky's suggestion of "Tony the cereal tiger" (of Frosted Flakes fame) is decidedly unhelpful. Then he recalls the song "Eye of the Tiger" and how it inspired Rocky in Rocky III, but his awful off-key rendition of the song causes Jake to say that he's jumping. Finally, he simply says that he's a doctor and he might be able to help and if not, the tiger can eat both him and Lucky, and this finally convinces Jake.
    Lucky: Or just him.
    Jake: Alright. I just hope you're a better doctor than you are a singer.
  • In The Guilty, Asger tries to convince Iben not to jump off a bridge after she's found out that she killed her infant son Oliver during a psychotic episode.
  • Hanussen: How Hanussen discovers his gift for hypnotism. A soldier in the same hospital ward pulls out a grenade when he isn't allowed to see the emperor. Hanussen disarms him by essentially putting him in a light trance.
  • In the international version of Holmes & Watson, Watson thinks Holmes is doing this to him through sign language and resolves not to kill himself. Actually, Holmes was suggesting other ways of committing suicide.
  • In a flashback in Inception, we see the hero trying to talk his wife down from the The Precarious Ledge, where she is about to commit suicide. It doesn't work.
  • Clarence's mission in It's a Wonderful Life is a particularly drawn-out, indirect, and yet extremely direct version of this. In a bid to earn his wings, Clarence is supposed to prevent George Bailey from committing suicide. To do this, Clarence does everything he can to show George what a positive force he has been in the lives of his friends and family members, and yet the closest he comes to straight-out pleading with George to not kill himself is when he says, "You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?" after George has already wished himself out of existence.
  • The Ledge: The ledge of the title involves a man standing there threatening to jump. A cop is there trying to talk him out of it, and during their conversation it's revealed how he got to that point.
  • The first Lethal Weapon movie does involve this, which turns out to be an inversion. Riggs is spectacularly bad about it. He starts out with the sympathetic angle, smoking a cigarette with the would-be-jumper, then he handcuffs them together, and then Riggs jumps, taking the would-be jumper with him, much to the alarm and dismay of the jumper who cusses him out and calls him crazy after the fact. There was an airbag to break their fall, however, brought in while Riggs was distracting the suicidal person.
  • Man on a Ledge has an interesting twist. A disgraced ex-cop threatens to jump from a hotel window, and much of the movie consists of a police negotiator trying to talk him down. Turns out it's really just a cover to keep the police and public distracted while his brother attempts a heist in the building next door in order to prove his innocence. In the end, he spots the bad guy on the street and jumps down anyway, onto the airbag the police had set up.
  • Meet John Doe: A newspaper reporter writes that a homeless man has told her that he will kill himself at midnight New Year's Day to protest society, then she hires a man to play the part. After their arrangement is exposed by a corrupt businessman worried about the effectiveness of their crusade, he decides to actually do it; she talks him down.
  • Men in Black. After Edwards (later Agent J) corners the Cephalapoid assassin atop a building, the assassin starts backing up toward the edge, rambling about how he's failed. He then 'blinks'. Edwards tries to talk him down, but the Cephalopoid simply smiles and falls back.
  • Milk shows the eponymous character, Harvey Milk, talking a wheelchair-using gay teenager out of killing himself.
  • In Pay It Forward, a woman is about to jump from a bridge but is eventually being talked out off it by a man passing by.
  • In Titanic (1997) Jack convinces Rose not to jump off the titular ship into the icy waters below.
  • In Yes-Man, the main character sings a man off a ledge with the song "Jumper", quoted above. At one point, he forgets the words, and the suicidal guy fills in for him.
  • The Young Rebel: In one scene, Gen Lai, a good cop, pursues a purse snatcher to a cliff, where the thief, revealed to be a desperate man, threatens that he will jump off (the drop leading to a railway track) and kill himself, since his life means nothing to him anyways. Gen instead coaxed the thief to turn himself in, telling him how much he will suffer if the railway didn't kill him then, and he's better off in prison where he can apply for a fair parole. It works, the thief climbed back to the railing's other side and raises his hands to be handcuffed.

  • Happens in Moby-Dick- Ishmael begs Queequeg not to kill himself after Queequeg sees what he believes is his impending death in the bones he casts. (it was probably really his death with the rest of the crew that he saw, if anything.) The movie has Ishmael going "Queequeg, don't. Queequeg, listen to me. Queequeg, I absolutely forbid you to die."
  • So many stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series involve this.
  • Played for Laughs in Discworld novel The Truth. William encounters a man threatening to jump off of a building and climbs up to talk him down (while bystanders are telling him he should've chosen a different building to jump from!) In the end,William find out the man frequently threatens to jump until the Watch show up and offer him money. And he's a steeplejack, making his claim that climbing up is the hard part a little questionable. And he ends up saving William, who falls from the building.
  • As soon as the title character in Eden Green awakens to find she's been infected with an immortal alien needle symbiote, she puts a shotgun in her mouth. When her best friend is unable to talk her out of it, the psychopath who infected her tries to point out that the symbiote will keep her alive. In the end, all that saves her is the fact that the gun is empty.
  • Aravis, the heroine of The Horse and His Boy, nearly takes her own life rather than be forced into a marriage as a teenager with a man several times her own age. Her horse, Hwin, who turns out to be a Narnian talking horse, tries to talk her out of suicide. It works partially because Hwin convinces her that "If you live, your fortunes may yet improve, but if you die, then they can't", partially because partnering with a talking horse gives her a means of escape, and partially because holy crap, a talking horse?! helps snap her out of it.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, although he doesn't act on it, when Snape and Dumbledore talk after Lily Potter's death, Snape makes the much forgotten remark "I wish... I wish I were dead...". Dumbledore quickly shoots this down by saying in a harsh tone "And what use would that be to anyone?"
  • In The Overstory, Mimi does this completely non-verbally to Patricia near the end of the book.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lie to Me: In "The Royal We" Cal talks down a girl about to jump off a catwalk.
  • Often turns up in CSI. It's usually the murderer of the week trying to take an easy way out, however one occasion combined this with an odd mix of Suicide by Cop where a suicidal young man, whose failed suicide had led to his girlfriend doing the same, tried to jump off a ledge and tried to get said girlfriend's neighbour (who assumed that he murdered her) to kill him when the cops showed up to talk him down. ( The neighbour's talked down, but the guy jumps...into a crash pad the fire department had time to set up while he was distracted).
  • On an episode of The Pretender, Jarod does this while working as a TV news cameraman.
  • Mendol Ikemen: The girls talk a jumper out of killing herself, by saying she's "an angel on Earth."
  • In the Torchwood episode "A Day in the Death", an undead Owen Harper manages to talk down a suicidal woman from the ledge, mostly by telling her about his own experience with death.
  • Subverted in Sledge Hammer!, when the eponymous cop deliberately shoots at the feet of the would-be suicide to drive him off.
  • In an SNL Digital Short we see a man with a bullhorn trying to talk down a "jumper" who - it is revealed - is only a few feet away from him at ground level.
  • The Benny Hill Show: Benny is a passing minister who tries to talk down a jumper, until he finds out that the jumper is a fan of an opposing football team. "Well, flaming well jump then!"
  • In Kyle XY, in the episode Lockdown, Kyle talks Jessi out of jumping.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the episode "I Only Have Eyes For You," Angel talks Buffy out of killing herself, but Angel and Buffy are both not themselves at the time - they are possessed by the ghosts of other people. What makes it weirder is that it happens during the time that Angel is evil.
    • In the episode "Earshot," Buffy talks Jonathan Levinson out of killing himself, although she thinks that she is convincing him not to commit mass murder instead.
    • Buffy also convinces Angel not to kill himself when he is attacked by the First Evil.
    • Buffy herself has to be talked out of suicide when she thinks after being resurrected she's in hell. It takes Dawn being in danger to spur her out of it, and the whole season to come to terms with just how much her life at this point absolutely sucks it.
  • The Mentalist has Jane taking an interesting approach to talking a woman out of jumping from a bridge. He tells her that if she's gonna jump, "make sure to dive, head first" because from that height, she would only suffer "massive internal injuries." She responds by clutching onto a support beam in horror.
  • The title character from Hooperman does this with props (specifically a watermelon) in the pilot episode. While he talks the would-be jumper out of jumping, he brings up the finality of death and demonstrates by throwing the watermelon to the street below. In a later episode, he tries this again. However, he decides against taking the watermelon out of the bag when the jumper says he can't stand the sight of them.
  • A regular occurrence on Flashpoint; almost half of SRU Team One's hot calls have involved this, though they don't always succeed.
  • Friends: Phoebe talks down an unlucky man who plans on killing himself due to feeling unappreciated and ignored by his co-workers.
  • A semi-regular occurrence on Barney Miller, where the squad will get a call about a jumper and then return with the would-be suicide. In one episode Fish goes out to talk someone down while a woman is having a baby at the precinct. After she delivers Fish shows up and is told about the delivery. "You win some, you lose some." He was unsuccessful.
  • In an episode of The Bob Newhart Show had Bob's character, a psychiatrist, have to do this while in a Zorro costume (for a costume party). He even gets out on the ledge, and after succeeding, strikes a Zorro pose alone on the ledge.
  • Subverted on the 2010 Upstairs Downstairs revival. Harry attempts to talk Persie out of shooting herself and to wrest the gun away from her, but Beryl is shot in the ensuing Gun Struggle...and this spurs Persie to dive over a railing to her death.
  • The NCIS episode "Leap of Faith" starts with Gibbs trying to talk down a suicidal naval officer. It starts to work—and then someone shoots the officer.
    • The episode "Keep Going" has Palmer talking down a suicidal young man whose father was just killed by a road rager. He succeeds.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Hard Time," Bashir has to keep O'Brien, who's been traumatized by spending twenty years in a mental prison (in less than an hour to the outside world), from phasering himself.
  • The midseason finale of Rizzoli & Isles has Jane doing this with a murder suspect, having just discovered proof that he's being framed for the murder of his mistress. Of course, not two seconds after he's been talked out of jumping off a bridge, he slips and falls off anyway, resulting in a Cliffhanger.
  • Arnold Horshack in Welcome Back, Kotter talks a new girl out of jumping out the window when she has trouble fitting in. Said girl would become his love interest and eventual wife.
  • In Healer, heroine Chae Young Shin does this in the second episode, to a woman who is being abused. Young Shin admits she knows exactly what the woman is going through, because she's been there too...when she was seven years old.
  • Person of Interest. In the Batman Cold Open of "Prophets", the POI is going to jump off a building after being caught in embezzlement and murder. Reese points out that his insurance won't pay his family if he commits suicide, but will if a cop kills him. So the POI tries to shoot Reese, who kneecaps him as usual.
    POI: You said you were gonna kill me!
    Reese: I Lied.
    • In "If-Then-Else" Shaw has to do this to a guy in a bomb vest in a dramatic rather than comedic take. As it is made more difficult by the fact that she is a sociopath, she tries to call another team member for help. The question of which team member is best able to help her is a question that The Machine is trying to answer in its "Groundhog Day" Loop simulation. In the failed versions, Shaw shoots the guy and ends up arrested.
    • Played for even more drama when Shaw is the one being talked down, as a result of the fact that she is questioning reality based on her experiences as a prisoner of Samaritan in which she experienced thousands of simulations. When Shaw puts a gun to her own head, Root does the same.
  • Inverted in a Tosh0 skit, where Tosh's idea of talking someone off a ledge was yelling "Jump!" and tripping them.
  • In one episode of M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter encounters a soldier that had extensive facial injuries and wanted to kill himself because he feared that all of his loved ones would reject him. Potter does his best to convince the soldier otherwise, but to little avail. Eventually, he catches the soldier trying to use some of the camp's anesthetic gas to kill himself, and Potter feigns outrage before trying to "assist" the soldier with the deed. The soldier panics and tries to flee, proving Potter's point that he had not truly lost his will to live.
  • How to Get Away with Murder: In the season three episode "Who's Dead?", Bonnie convinces Frank not to shoot himself. A particularly impressive feat because the whole time Annalise is yelling at him to do it.
  • The Commish. Commissioner Scali has to do this to a friend who was forced to retire from the police for health reasons. In a subversion, Scali appears to have succeeded but as he turns to climb through the window, his friend decides to jump anyway.
  • In the Australian series Police Rescue, Sergeant McClintock talks down a jumper and they spend some time afterwards bonding. The next day the man succeeds in killing himself, leaving a note for McClintock thanking him for the extra day of life.
  • In the Shadowhunters episode "Love Is A Devil," Alec is Driven to Suicide by the effects of a spell that makes those affected believe that their fears and insecurities have come to life. Clary tries to do this, but it doesn't work because the spell is making him hear her berating him for his Demonic Possession-induced murder of her mother. He is eventually saved anyway.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: June has to do this with Janine as she's climbed up on the edge of a bridge holding her baby and threatening to jump, after the child had been taken away. June gets Janine to give her the baby, but after this she jumps anyway. She survives however.
  • Happy Valley has two notable instances of this trope:
    • The very first scene of the series shows Catherine confronting a man threatening to set himself on fire. She ends up using a fire extinguisher on him.
    • After John Wadsworth has been exposed as a murderer in the Season 2 finale, he threatens to take his own life by jumping off a bridge. Catherine tries to talk him down, but, lacking proper training, turns out to be pretty bad at it. When John reveals that he was trained in suicide intervention, she asks him what she should say, leading to a bizarre, darkly humorous situation in which a cop trying to prevent a suicide is given instructions by the man who is about to kill himself. Unfortunately, he jumps anyway.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Lucien does this to the father of the Victim of the Week in "First Dance" when he is planning to throw himself off the suspension bridge. Lucien finds common ground with him because he knows what it is like to lose your family.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: "In "Les On a Ledge" newsman Les Nesman threatens to jump off the building after he is banned from a local locker room because he is mistakenly thought to be gay. Friend and salesman Herb Tarlek talks him down.
  • Southland: Officer John Cooper talks down a suicidal gay teenager who wants to die after schoolmates force him to wear a dress and make-up. Averted when the kid later jumps off the hospital where Cooper takes him.
  • Lucifer (2016): Lucifer does this unintentionally by questioning a jumper about his involvement in a murder case. Lucifer doesn't care about him at all and repeatedly insults his "pathetic" life, but the guy somehow takes it to be a heartening sign that the worst is behind him.
  • Vera: At the end of "Darkwater", Vera has to do this with the killer, who is planning to throw themselves of an escarpment over guilt for their actions. Vera succeeds, but the killer now finds they are frozen with fear and Vera has to physically drag them back from the edge.
  • The Golden Girls: In "Not Another Monday," Sophia's friend Martha decides to commit suicide after the death of her friend Lydia, and asks Sophia to sit with her when she does it. Right before Martha takes her pills, Sophia reminds her of how they met: in a hospital room, wanting to live. When Martha reminds Sophia that Martha doesn't have any friends, Sophia offers to be Martha's support system. Eventually, Sophia just takes Martha's pills away and they both begin crying as Sophia begs Martha to reconsider:
    Martha: I want to go. Lydia looked so peaceful.
    Sophia: We're not in this life for peace!
    Martha: You're crying.
    Sophia: No I'm not. I don't cry.
    Martha: I can see your tears.
    Sophia: And I can see yours. You know what that tells me?
    Martha: What?
    Sophia: You're not as ready to die as you think you are. You still wanna live, kid!
    Martha: Some kid. I don't know what to do.
    Sophia: That's the point. If you're not sure, you can't change your life tomorrow. You wanted me to be here for your death. How about letting me be here for your life?
    Martha: Like a friend?
    Sophia: Like a best friend. [they hug]

  • The speaker of the song "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind is attempting to talk someone else down from a ledge.
  • The Nickelback song "Lullaby" is all about this, except that the speaker isn't there in person. He's playing the song over the radio, hoping that the suicidal will hear it wherever they are and know that they aren't alone.
  • "Moments" by Emerson Drive. The narrator is planning to jump off a bridge when he hands the money in his pocket to a homeless man. The homeless man then sings the chorus to him ("I've had my moments / Days in the sun / Moments I was second to none / Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn't do…") which inspires the narrator to reconsider his actions and also say that he has had his moments before walking away. As he does, he imagines that the homeless man will share stopping a suicide as one of his "moments".
  • Subverted in Simon & Garfunkel's "Save the Life of My Child". A boy appears on a ledge and everybody, taking him for a suicide, goes into a panic. No one really talks to him. At the end he flies away, indicating the whole thing has been a (divine?) test.
  • The Script's song "Talk You Down" is actually about a relationship falling apart, but uses this imagery to try and convince someone not to completely destroy it.
  • The Fray's song "How to Save a Life" is about someone attempting and failing to talk down a suicidal boy. The lead singer was inspired to write it by his time spent working at a camp for troubled teenagers, and a boy he met there, whom he said "no one could write a manual on how to save him."
  • The Kurage-P Vocaloid song "My R" is about a suicidal girl that keeps running into other girls when she goes to jump. She's shown making the first two girls realize that their issues aren't worth dying over and convincing the third one to wait a bit longer. Subverted at the end of the song, when it's revealed that there never were any other girls. The song is actually about the girl going over her own motives for suicide and talking herself down. By the end, she gives up on this and jumps.
    • Played straight at the end of "Diary of Underage Observation", however, where a girl, having observed the struggles of not only the suicidal girl from "My R" but of many others as well, decided to try and talk her down from killing herself.
  • "A Better Place, A Better Time" by Streetlight Manifesto is about this.
  • "Memo to Human Resources" by They Might Be Giants is about a jaded businessman who ends up on a ledge and has to be talked down.
  • "Please Don't Jump (It's Christmas)" by Dallon Weekes (currently of I Don't Know How But They Found Me, formerly of The Brobecks and Panic! at the Disco) is a case of this directed towards those suffering from seasonal depression.

  • Played for laughs in Avenue Q. While the main characters are out and about in the city, an offstage voice cries out:
    Jumper: I'm gonna jump!
    Cast: Don't do it!
    Jumper: Okay!
  • Love Never Dies shows how not to do this. In the climax, a crazed Meg Giry threatens to drown herself and Christine and Erik's son, Gustave. Erik talks her out of harming Gustave and is pretty successful in talking Meg out of harming herself … until he sings "we can't all be like Christine," which sets Meg off and leads to her accidentally shooting Christine.
  • This happens twice in Spring Awakening. Ilse desperately tries to convince a suicidal Moritz to "play pirates" with her. He doesn't accept her offer, and eventually shoots himself.. Another time is when Melchior visits the grave of Moritz, he sees Wendla's grave. He had no idea that she was killed because of a botched abortion, and during "Those You've Known", the spirits of Wendla and Moritz talk a devastated Melchior out of slitting his own throat out of grief.

    Video Games 
  • Defender of RON, a game in the Reality-On-The-Norm series, has an optional mission where the protagonist has to try and talk The Grim Reaper out of a suicide attempt.
  • In Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space episode one, the title pair have to talk Jimmy Two-Teeth out of jumping to his death. Unfortunately, Sam's attempts to talk him out of jumping are countered by Max's encouragement to jump. They finally go to get the only one who can talk him out of it: his wife.
  • In Mass Effect, if you have the Colonist background, you get a mission to help out another victim of the slaver raid that Shepard survived, and who is now standing on the docks, threatening to kill herself. Shepard can talk to her to get her to calm down, and get her to take the sedative, so she can get the care she needs.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, CJ comes across a rapper threatening to jump. He makes a token effort to get him down, but in the end steals a straw truck so he lands semi-safely.
  • In Hate Plus, during the harem route, you have to help *Hyun-ae, an AI, stop another AI, *Mute, from essentially committing suicide by wiping everything but her core data, done by selecting pre-set arguments appealing to *Mute's coded directives of duty and honor.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you must do this with Isaias Sandoval, who is on the verge of suicide after his role in The Conspiracy has been exposed. If he hasn't been exposed, though, he'll just try to shoot the player character instead.
  • Doing this in The Crooked Man to a possessed David will result in the suicide being pulled through.
  • Two examples in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword:
    • After losing her entire unit, Fiora the pegasus knight is prepared to lead a suicidal charge against the Black Fang. Florina must talk to her to recruit her over to your side, telling her not to throw away her life.
    • Harken, a knight of Pherae, infiltrates the Black Fang with the hopes of going against them, hoping he dies in the process as penance for failing to protect Lord Elbert. Hector, Oswin or anyone from House Pherae can talk him out of this and get him to join their side.
  • In Crusader Kings, there is one event where a person is about to commit suicide and you can attempt to stop him. If you attempt to play this trope strait and talk him down, he jumps and ends his life. If you want to save his life, you have to subvert this trope and just pull him down.
  • Max, the main character in Life Is Strange, tries to talk down Kate from jumping off the dorm building at the end of episode 2. Her success is dependent on the player making the right choices, and, in this case, there are no do-overs.
  • Sadly averted in the fourth Daymare Town game. The player can talk to a character perched on the edge of a cliff, but you have no way of talking him out of it, and he vanishes later in the game.
  • In Undertale: If you call Undyne in the trash dump with the waterfall, she reveals that she first met Dr. Alphys while Alphys was staring into the abyss (a waterfall with no visible bottom) and remarks that she looked, "contemplative." Undyne asked Alphys what she thought of the abyss...which led to Alphys spending hours explaining every single theory she had to a now captivated Undyne. It's not clear if Undyne knew what she was doing, but the way she pauses before saying certain words implies that she might have, or at the very least realized it in hindsight after the fact.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a minor character named Brigo will try to talk Link out of jumping off a bridge under the mistaken assumption that Link is trying to kill himself. That Brigo regularly patrols along the bridge and has a little station next to it where he sleeps and gets out of the rain carry the implication that he has done this with lots of people.
  • The Cat Lady has Liz, who first introduces herself as a nurse in the suicide ward, but is later revealed to be a suicidal person herself when she tries to jump off the roof. Susan can talk her down from it, but only if the player correctly recalls multiple conversations she's had with Liz about the latter's life and proves that Susan did listen to and care about her, contrary to Liz's belief that pushes her over the edge.
  • In Disco Elysium, when you finally corner Ruby, the prime suspect of the murder case, she decides to just blow her brains out unless you pass a proper skill check to convince her to just walk away.
  • At the end of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Ichiban and Ryo Aoki have a final confrontation at the coin lockers where their lives began where after lamenting how all the power he chased meant nothing in the end Aoki points a gun to his head. Ichiban goes from angrily yelling about how Aoki was surrounded by those who cared for him himself being one of them to openly weeping as he pleads to the man to not go through with it. He succeeds and Aoki decides to turn himself in for his crimes only to be assassinated by a disillusioned lackey.
  • This is part of the backstory of Yuri, one Player Character among the main cast in Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. Due to her inability to cope with her recently-acquired sixth sense, which makes her subject to seeing ghosts and hearing their words that others can't, as the result of being the Sole Survivor of a car accident that claimed the lives of her entire family, she was about to jump off a cliff, only for Hisoka to grab unto her from behind and talk her out of her suicide attempt, by offering to die with her, telling her that she's not alone, and offering for Yuri to stay with her. Whether Yuri remains alive to the end of the game depends on which of the Multiple Endings the player gets.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • ASDF Movie played this for Black Comedy twice.
    • In 7, a crowd of people attempt to talk down a jumper. Unfortunately for them, the "Everybody Do The Flop" guy shows up, and everybody (including the Jumper) does the Flop.
    • 10 opens with a crowd of people looking up at a jumper. One guy yells "No! Don't jump!" then sets up a video camera and says "Ok, now jump!"
  • Parodied again in a different TomSka video, Musical Suicide. As the name indicated, it's a duet between Tom and a woman about to jump off a ledge as he begs her not to do it. Unfortunately, she turns out to be someone other than who he though it was and and leaves her to make up her own mind. She jumps.
  • Camp Camp has an episode that features the resident cool kid Ered worrying that she's losing her coolness which leads to her attempting a potentially lethal skateboarding stunt (something she's actually openly terrified by). Nerris, LARP and D&D nerd, ends up talking her down.
  • The Weather: Implied in one scene. Cricket stood at the edge of a skyscraper's roof, asking her caller deep questions about what makes him tick and what the meaning of life is. It all plays like someone stopping a suicidal woman from jumping, with Cricket sounding almost on the verge of tears...while the caller just answered her questions like they were in a casual conversation.
  • In the SCP Foundation short story "Life Saver", a Mysterious Stranger talks the narrator off the edge of a roof by the simple expedient of promising to do unspeakable things to everyone the narrator cares about if they commit suicide.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied to the extreme in South Park. When Obama wins the 2008 American presidental election, Ike Broflovski, a McCain supporter, is so devastated that he decides to jump out of the first-story window. The four leads, including his older brother Kyle, come outside to talk him out of jumping out the window. He does, and Kyle then takes him to a hospital. The part about Ike being suicidal turns out to be a subversion when viewers see him go into the hospital morgue and declare all of the politicians involved in the jewel heist to be dead, revealing that he was privy to this plan and that he jumped out of the window specifically to put himself in the hospital and enable himself to do this.
    • In the episode where Butters is sent to a Christian camp meant to cure him, and other youths of their "confusion", several other attendees kill themselves throughout the episode. When Butters tells the little boy he befriended that he likes him, the other little boy runs to a nearby bridge so that he can jump off and put an end to his "confusion." When Butters tries to talk him down, a councilor insists that Butters will only make the other boy more confused. Butters lashes out, and says that he only felt confused because people told him he was, and since everyone is made in God's image, then God himself must have been a little bit confused himself when he made him, Butters' friend, and everyone in the camp. The boy comes down, and Butters' parents take him home.
  • Parodied in an episode of Beavis And Butthead: the title characters encounter a banker who attempts suicide when his embezzlement are exposed by the police. When they argue in favor of suicide, the man misinterprets their argument as assurance that he is not alone and other people care about him. He then embraces the duo, much to their displeasure.
    Butthead: Life sucks, and then you die.
    • Very darkly subverted in the second Christmas special, which parodies It's a Wonderful Life. Charlie is given the mission to get Butthead to kill himself after the duo's antics over the past year has caused so much damage that it causes everyone in town to desperately pray to the Powers That Be to make them go away. It fails, as Butthead is extremely unimpressed with the idyllic Highland that would apparently exist if he had never been born.
  • Moe Syzlak on The Simpsons has been used to parody this trope several times, as his frequent suicide attempts usually fail on their own volition, and when the townsfolk do attempt to talk him down, they don't exactly do it in the most understanding way.
  • An unusual spin on this trope shows up in Code Lyoko. Aelita shuts off the supercomputer (previously shown to have devastating and possibly lethal consequences for her). Jeremie finds her and turns the computer back on. When she comes to, he scolds her about throwing her life away. Unlike most examples, Aelita has a legitimate reason for suicide; her death would also remove the threat of the computer virus XANA who has nearly killed her friends multiple times.
  • In one episode of Kaeloo, Stumpy fears that he won't be able to impress a girl who he likes. He tries to hang himself, but the rest of the main four immediately try to talk him out of it and finally agree to help him impress her.
  • Samurai Jack Season 5; Ashi finds Jack with the spirits of several other samurai, just about to commit seppuku and end his apparent suffering. While she battles the Omen (the mysterious rider that had been stalking Jack throughout the season), she calls out to him about all the people he saved and all the good he did, which eventually proves to be enough to snap him out of his Heroic BSoD.
  • The Legend of Korra contains a Does This Remind You of Anything? example. In one scene, Korra talks to a scared man who is on top of a bridge. Despite all the similarities to this trope, he's actually not a suicidal man trying to jump. He awakened airbending powers, freaked out, and accidentally got himself stuck on the bridge.
  • Subverted in Jem. In "A Change Of Heart", it looks like Minx is going to try to jump off a roof for the second time this week, so the characters try to stop her again. In actuality, Minx went to the roof to throw Rio's instrument off the room.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Please Dont Kill Yourself, Talking Down The Suicide


"Not Another Monday"

Sophia's friend Martha plans to take sleeping pills and die, but Sophia reminds her of why she should keep living.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TalkingDownTheSuicidal

Media sources:

Main / TalkingDownTheSuicidal