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If your friend tells you he or she is feeling suicidal, take it seriously. Hearing this might make you feel overwhelmed or worried, especially if your friend is very upset or angry, but there are steps you can take to help.
Take Action. If you are worried about your friend, ask if they are thinking about killing themselves. Listen without judging them or acting shocked. Having someone to talk to honestly can help them. Many of these suggestions will work whether you are talking to your friend in person, on the phone, texting, or interacting online.
Don’t keep it a secret! A secret can be dangerous if it hurts your friend. It is important to tell someone who can help you and can help your friend stay safe. Contact a trusted adult, clergy member, spiritual advisor, healer, elder, health professionals, or text NATIVE to 741741.
Offer your support. Let your friend know that you want to help them. Just knowing that somebody cares can be reassuring since your friend might feel very alone.
Choose what to say. If you’re not sure what to say, you might try saying “I’m worried about you” or “I don’t like seeing you upset,” or “I want to help you.” Whatever you decide, please be direct and don’t act shocked by what they say.
Offer to go with your friend to get help. Go with them to talk to an adult they trust about how they are feeling. Find someone they trust and who will be able to help or get help.
If your friend refuses to get help, you should go to talk to a parent, family member, teacher, counselor, or someone you trust. It is important to take their words seriously until a mental health professional has had a chance to talk to your friend to see how they are feeling.
If you think your friend is in immediate danger, dial or text 988. If you are with your friend, stay with your friend until help gets there.
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Dial or text 988 from any phone for free 24/7 support.
Acknowledgment: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times and http://mindyourmind.ca/help/.
Special Thanks: Donna Noonan, MPH, CHES, Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Photo Credit: Wayne K. Thomas featuring Richardson sisters, Southeastern Regional Representative