Communicating About Suicide and Engaging Youth
Why Would Anyone Want to Die?
When someone talks about wanting to end their lives, they are unable to see any alternatives, often they still want to live, but can’t see another way. They may be confused, have another mental health or health issue, or something may have happened in their lives to make them feel like there were no other choices. They do have a choice, though, and recognizing that they are at risk can save their lives.
Ways You Can Help!
Go Ahead & Ask
A person might play or hint at suicide, but you have to take these things seriously. Ask. Ask clearly and use the word “suicide.” Talking about suicide does not cause suicide. It may be a great relief to them to not have to be the first to say they need help. If you need help or find it difficult to ask if they are considering suicide, call the Lifeline, and a trained counselor will help you and the call will be confidential, 800-273-TALK
If you promise not to tell anyone about someone’s feelings, you risk their safety, instead of promising to keep things a secret, tell them “I can help, but I need to involve other people.”
Listen. Really, Listen
Show interest and support, don’t judge, don’t interrupt, and though it might feel funny not to, don’t give any advice except that you will help them through it and get help together. Showing you care is enough. Just listening can be lifesaving.
Stay with Him or Her
Go with them to get help from a professional, make the phone call together, or go to a hospital emergency room or other doctor together.
Keep things Safe
If there are firearms, drugs, or other means of suicide in his or her house, remove them until the crisis has passed. Make inaccessible anything that might be used by your friend in an impulsive moment.
Take Care of Yourself
Helping a person that is suicidal is stressful. Make sure you get support: talk to a friend or family member and get good food, rest, exercise, and whatever else you need.
What if They Just Want Attention?
If they ‘just’ want attention, they still need help. If you ask them directly, you might be saving their life.
I Am Too Embarrassed to Ask for Help
It’s okay to ask for help, in fact, there are places near you that are there specifically to help you. If you’re worried, you can make a confidential phone call to 800-273-TALK.