If you are considering acting on suicidal thoughts, seek medical help immediately by calling 911 or by calling the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Remember that suicidal crisis is always temporary.
Are you concerned about a friend or a loved one?
Mental Health is an issue that spreads across all demographics. If you notice any changes, especially any warning sides, that indicate suicide in your friends or loved ones, you are not left helpless. There are things you can do to help.
Know what to look out for
Part of being prepared to help someone in a suicidal state means knowing the warning signs. When a close friend suddenly starts changing their sleeping habits, general attitude, and even losing interest in some of their favorite activities, this can be a clue that something is wrong. Review the warning signs so you can recognize when someone needs help.
How to Help
Start by asking questions. See if you can bring up their lives and if they start to open up. Some examples might be:
- How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
- Do you ever feel like just giving up?
- Are you thinking about dying?
- Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
- Are you thinking about suicide?
- Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?
- Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
- Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?
Be sensitive while asking questions like these, but also be direct. Try to avoid phrasing questions in a way that makes someone hesitate to answer you truthfully, such as “You’re not thinking of hurting yourself, are you?”. This makes it seem like the person can only answer with a “no” and they won’t be able to open up to you.
Talking about suicide can seem scary, as it is a very serious topic. However, when someone talks about what they are experiencing, it often brings relief and helps ease the pain they’ve been feeling.
Encourage your friend or loved one to get help. Speaking to a professional therapist and counselor is very beneficial. Offer to help them get assistance and if you do, make sure you are absolutely following through.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
You don’t need special training to have an open, authentic conversation about mental health. Often, just talking about it can be the first important step in staying connecting for yourself or someone else and helping get support or treatment if needed.
Seize the Awkward
Talking to your friends about mental health can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. If you think a friend may be struggling with their mental health, learn how to start the conversation.
NIHM 5 Action Steps
5 Actions Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain – National Institute of Mental Health
Suicide Can Be Prevented
Interested in one of our Suicide Prevention classes? Fill out the form below to get class times and information.
If you are in a crisis, please call 911 or the 24-hour help line at 1-800-271-talk (8255).