Ask your friend if they’re ok. Don’t ignore it when you see them looking sad, getting angry frequently or telling you they have some problems. Take all talk of suicide seriously. They might be checking out whether anyone is really listening. Say something like, “I’m concerned about you. What’s going on?” or “you’ve been acting different, what’s up? I care about you. Tell me what’s going on so I can try to help or at least listen.” Don’t wait for them to tell you. They might think they are telling you with their actions and are waiting for you to ask about it. It is really hard for someone to ask for help. Don’t make them ask. Go ahead and ask if they need help.
Now that you’ve asked what’s going on, you need to listen. People often worry about what to say to someone who is really upset or suicidal. Just remember that this is about them, so let them do most of the talking. Show that you are really listening and understanding, but don’t judge, offer too much advice or tell too many stories about your own problems.
Talk to someone
Sometimes just listening to your friend will be enough to help them feel better, but if it’s not, you can’t keep it to yourself. You need to talk to an adult who can help – your parent (or someone else’s parent), older brother/sister, aunt/uncle, teacher, counselor, pastor, rabbi, mental health counselor, coach, neighbor or principal. If the first person doesn’t help, go talk to someone else. Offer to go with your friend to talk to that person.
Keep checking in with your friend
Let your friend know you’ll be there for them no matter what and then ask your friend from time to time how it’s going.
Know when he or she needs more help. If your friend is talking about suicide or hurting himself or herself, you need to get help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK for support 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
For more information on helping a friend, check out: http://www.whatadifference.samhsa.gov/