Still more useful information from the Columbia Lighthouse Project: their FAQ. In addition to addressing questions about using the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (with their six-question protocol), they also cover general questions and misconceptions about people at risk for suicide, including this one:
DOES ASKING PEOPLE ABOUT SUICIDE PUT THE IDEA INTO THEIR HEADS?
No, and for people who are considering suicide it can actually be a relief to talk about it. A seminal study by one of the Columbia Protocol developers — published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association — found that if you ask high school students about suicide, it doesn’t cause them to become suicidal or even distressed. For depressed students, asking the questions actually lowered their distress.
A review of all 13 research papers on this issue that were published from 2001 to 2014 found that none showed a statistically significant increase in suicidal ideation. According to the resulting report, “Our findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce, rather than increase suicidal ideation, and may lead to improvements in mental health in treatment-seeking populations.”
Visit the page to see the other important questions answered (such as "If someone intended to attempt suicide, why would that person tell you?"), and to follow links to the studies mentioned above.