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A friend or family member

If your friend (or family member) has been showing signs of hopelessness, said things like “it’s not worth it anymore” or “I wish I were dead,” you might have a lot of questions. Why would someone feel like that? How can I help? What’s wrong with them?

Your questions are good and very important, keep asking questions and ask someone to help. Encourage your friend to talk to someone that is prepared to work with people in situations like yours, like the people at 800-273-TALK. You are not alone and neither is your friend.

Rules to Follow

Don’t Lie for Your Friend

If you promise not to tell anyone about your friends’ feelings, you risk your friends’ 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 him/her through it and get help together. Showing you care is enough. Just listening can be lifesaving.

Stay with Your Friend

Go with them to get help from a professional, make the phone call together, or go to the hospital emergency room or other doctors 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 suicidal friend 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.

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