Suicidal Thoughts: Helping a Friend
If you think that a friend or loved one might be suicidal, you need to take action. Always take suicidal threats seriously.
Signs that a person is at risk of committing suicide include:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Talking a lot about death or suicide
- Trying to get access to pills, firearms, or other possible means of suicide
- Giving away belongings or saying goodbye
If you think your friend is at risk, here's what you can do.
1. Talk to Your Friend
- Ask your friend if he or she is thinking about suicide. Be direct. Contrary to what you might assume, you can't make someone suicidal by asking about it.
- Try to stay supportive and not judgmental.
- Ask your friend if he or she has a specific plan in mind. When people have settled on a specific means of committing suicide, they're at higher risk.
2. Get Help
- If you think your friend is in danger, stay with him or her if you can. Don'tleave a suicidal person alone.
- Call 911, take the person to an emergency room, or contact a crisis hotline like 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- Get support from other friends and family members, even if your friend asks you not to. It's too serious to keep secret -- and you can't keep your friend safe all on your own.
- If your friend has been seeing a mental health professional (therapist, counselor, psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist), call them and make them aware of the situation.